Saudi forces receive distress call from tanker near Yemen
(Bloomberg) – Unidentified assailants harassed an oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, a Saudi-led military coalition said Wednesday evening after receiving a distress call from the ship.
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The coalition, which is fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi group in the Yemen war, said the “armed harassment” took place near the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, according to Saudi state television. He did not give further details but warned of a high risk for ships in the area.
It is the latest in a series of incidents this week off the coast of Yemen after a period of relative calm on the sea routes. Yemen’s war and regional tensions with Iran have fueled a series of attacks on ships in Middle Eastern waters in recent years.
Yemeni fighters hijack UAE flag ship, Saudi coalition says
Several rounds of regional diplomacy have appeared to ease tensions in recent months. This has been accompanied by efforts by world powers to resuscitate a nuclear deal with Iran that could help allay concerns about its atomic program and allow it to re-enter the oil markets.
The British Navy UKMTO said on Wednesday that a ship in waters off Yemen had reported a “suspicious approach” but the ship and crew were safe and continued their journey. It was not immediately clear whether this was the same ship as the one identified by the coalition.
Houthis say Saudi-led coalition seizes fuel oil ship
The coalition said earlier this week that the Houthis hijacked a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo ship near Hodeidah. The coalition said it was used to transport medical supplies, but the Houthis said it was used to transport weapons. On Wednesday, the Houthis accused the coalition of seizing a ship carrying fuel and said the coalition had directed it to Jazan in Saudi Arabia.
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