A tanker linked to an Israel-affiliated company has been boarded off the coast of Yemen, the maritime security firm Ambrey said on November 26.
Ambrey said that “United States naval forces are engaged in the situation” after the incident involving the Liberian-flagged Central Park tanker owned and managed by the United Kingdom-based Zodiac Maritime, which ultimately belongs to Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer
The Houthis (Ansar Allah) had previously threatened to attack the tanker if it did not divert to the Yemeni Red Sea port of al-Hudaydah, Ambrey said.
It added that communications from a U.S. coalition warship had been intercepted warning the Central Park to disregard the messages.
The boarding took place offshore from the Yemeni port city of Aden, Ambrey said, adding that another vessel in the area reported “an approach by eight persons on two skiffs wearing military uniforms”.
The Iranian-backed Houthis threatened to target Israeli owned or operated ships sailing near Yemen and in other areas after the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip. On November 19, vehicle carrier Galaxy Leader, which is partly owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar, was seized by the group.
Later on November 24, the Malta-flagged ship CMA CGM Symi, which is owned by Israeli businessman Idan Ofer, was reportedly targeted with a suicide drone, similar in design to the Iranian Shahed-136, while in international waters. The drone exploded, causing damage to the ship but not injuring any of its crew. The Houthis have not claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.
The recent incidents show that the Houthis have de-facto closed the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, in the face of Israeli owned or operated ships. Israel is yet to respond.