Seizure of Galaxy Leader prompts rerouting of Two Ray Car Carrier ships

A view of the British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship Galaxy Leader, which was reported to have been captured by Houthis in the southern Red Sea, in this handout image taken near Queensland, Australia November 27, 2018. Owen Foley/Handout via REUTERS
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Two merchant ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden were linked to the same maritime group as a ship seized by Yemen’s Houthis, according to shipping data and Ambrey, a British maritime security firm. Israel accused the Houthis of hijacking a British-Japanese-operated cargo ship, calling it an “Iranian act of terrorism” with international maritime security implications. This incident rekindled fears about shipping in the Middle East. The Houthis confirmed capturing a ship, which Japan’s government confirmed as the ship operated by Nippon Yusen, appealing for assistance from Saudi, Omani, and Iranian authorities for its rapid release.

Two other vessels managed by Ray Car Carriers, the Glovis Star and Hermes Leader, also changed their sailing routes. The Hermes Leader diverted its route south of Nishtun, Yemen, back towards its origin and then to Sri Lanka, while the Glovis Star drifted in the Red Sea for hours. The Galaxy Guide, owned by Isle of Man registered Galaxy Maritime Ltd, was illegally boarded by military personnel, while the Houthis threatened further attacks on Israel and Israeli ships in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

The U.S. Maritime Administration advised caution in the area and Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the ship’s hijacking a threat to international law and order. The article, by Jonathan Saul, had a journalistic writing style and professional tone.

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