The merchant ship Galaxy Leader was illegally boarded by military personnel using a helicopter and is now in the port area of Hodeidah in Yemen, according to the ship’s owner, Galaxy Maritime Ltd. All communication with the vessel was lost, and the owner stated they will not comment further on the situation. Video footage released by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis showed gunmen descending from a helicopter and hijacking the ship in the southern Red Sea.
The United States condemned the seizure as a violation of international law and called for the immediate release of the ship and its crew. The crew includes nationals of several countries, and the ship is chartered from the Japanese Nippon Yusen. The owner stated that the seizure of the vessel represents a gross violation of the freedom of passage of the world fleet and a serious threat to international trade. They also expressed concern for the safety of the crew members being held by the perpetrators.
The situation is ongoing, and the owner has stated that they will not comment further on the political or geopolitical situation. The U.S. State Department has called for the immediate release of the ship and crew, and the ship’s owner has expressed concern for the safety of the crew members.