Ship taking on water after Houthi strike – Reuters

The Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier MV Laax was hit by missiles fired from Yemen on Tuesday

The bulk carrier MV Laax is taking on water after it was hit by Houthi missiles off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing security services. The Houthis – a Shia Islamist group that controls a large part of the civil war-stricken Yemen – has been attacking merchant vessels in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza since October.

According to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Houthis fired five anti-ship ballistic missiles at the Red Sea. It added that the Greek-owned and Marshall Islands-flagged vessel reported being struck by the three of the missiles but has continued its voyage. The ship did not report any injuries.

The Houthis warned in March that their attacks on ships linked to the US, UK and Israel “will have a great impact.” The militants say that they will continue to disrupt the shipping along the waterway that is vital for international trade in response to Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. 

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The Seatrade Maritime News reported this month that the Houthis had managed to expand the geography of their activities, including the recent attack on the container ship MSC Orion around 170 miles south of Yemen’s island of Socotra.

The US has responded to the attacks by carrying out strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, with the UK occasionally joining the air raids. The EU has dispatched its own armada to patrol the Red Sea and protect the shipping lanes.

According to Lloyd’s List, the weekly transit through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, has fallen by 60% because many companies were forced to reroute their vessels.

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