Warships aid burning Red Sea tanker’s crew extinguish blaze after Houthi missile hit

Attacks by Houthis rebels on ships in the Red Sea have upset global trade and raised shipping rates.

Attacks by Houthis rebels on ships in the Red Sea have upset global trade and raised shipping rates. Photo: AP

Crews have extinguished a fire on board the tanker Marlin Luanda after the vessel was struck by a Houthi anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Aden, commodities trader Trafigura says.

“All crew on board the Marlin Luanda are safe and the fire in the cargo tank has been fully extinguished. The vessel is now sailing towards a safe harbour,” Trafigura said in a statement, adding that the firefighting effort had been supported by Indian, US and French navy vessels.

The US military said earlier that a US navy ship and other vessels were providing assistance after the Marlin Luanda was hit by a Houthi anti-ship missile.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militants have launched waves of exploding drones and missiles at vessels since November 19 in response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

Some shipping companies have suspended transits through the Red Sea and taken much longer, costlier journeys around Africa.

Laden with volatile naptha

The Houthi attacks have primarily targeted container vessels moving through the Red Sea. Many oil tankers have kept using the route.

The Marshall Islands-flagged Marlin Luanda issued a distress call on Friday and reported damage, US Central Command said in a post on X.

The USS Carney and other coalition ships were providing assistance to the tanker, it said.

The tanker was carrying Russian naphtha purchased below the price cap in line with G7 sanctions, a Trafigura representative said on Friday.

US and UK warplanes, ships and submarines have responded to the Houthi attacks on shipping in recent weeks with dozens of retaliatory air strikes across Yemen against Houthi forces.

About eight hours after the incident involving the Marlin Luanda, the US military destroyed a Houthi anti-ship missile that was aimed into the Red Sea and ready to launch, Central Command said.

‘An imminent threat’

The missile “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US navy ships in the region,” it said.

The Houthis’ al-Masira television said on Saturday that the United States and United Kingdom launched two air strikes that targeted the port of Ras Issa, Yemen’s main oil export terminal.

In response, the UK government said Britain and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately”.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK remained “as committed as ever” to protecting freedom of navigation.

“This intolerable and illegal attack on maritime shipping is the latest on innocent people and global trade,” he said on Saturday.

“It is our duty to protect freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and we remain as committed to that cause as ever.”


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