Greek-owned, Malta-flagged carrier hit by missile off Yemen

Greek-owned, Malta-flagged carrier hit by missile off Yemen
A Greek-owned cargo ship was hit by a missile off Yemen, following a string of attacks in the Red Sea by Yemen's Houthis
3 min read
A Malta-flagged bulker has been impacted by missile off Yemen's coast [file photo/Getty]

An empty Malta-flagged bulk carrier was hit by a missile while heading north through the Red Sea, 76 nautical miles northwest of the Yemeni port of Saleef, a security firm and two Greek shipping ministry sources said on Tuesday.

The Greek-owned vessel, the Zografia, was sailing from Vietnam to Israel with 24 crew on board and was empty of cargo when attacked, one of the Greek sources who spoke to news agency Reuters said.

"There were no injuries, only material damage," the source added.

The British maritime security firm Ambrey had mentioned the attack in an advisory note earlier on Tuesday. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) surveillance hub also said it had received a report of an incident about 100 nautical miles northwest of Saleef.

"A Malta-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier was reportedly targeted and impacted with a missile while transiting the southern Red Sea northbound," Ambrey said in an alert.

The ship, which has visited Israel since the outbreak of war in Gaza and was headed to Suez, changed course and headed to port after the incident, Ambrey said.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis, who launched attacks on American vessels on Sunday and Monday following US and UK strikes on their territory last week.

The Iran-aligned group had threatened to expand the range of targets of its attacks in the Red Sea - which it says are a response to Israel's bombardment of Gaza - to include US ships in response to American and British strikes on its sites in Yemen.

On Sunday, US forces shot down a Houthi cruise missile targeting an American destroyer, and on Monday a US-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman was hit by another rebel missile.

Earlier, Qatar's prime minister said liquefied natural gas shipments would be affected by tensions in the Red Sea, and warned that strikes on Yemen risk aggravating the crisis.

"LNG is... as any other merchant shipments. They will be affected by that," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the World Economic Forum in Davos, referring to the exchanges with the Houthis.

"There are alternative routes, those alternative routes are not more efficient, they're less efficient than the current route," he added.

Rather than use the key route between Asia and European markets, which normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade, some shipping companies are now taking a major detour around southern Africa.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that at least five LNG vessels operated by Qatar had stopped en route to the Red Sea.

"(Military intervention) will not bring an end for this, will not contain it. So the contrary, I think will create... a further escalation," Sheikh Mohammed said, referring to the tensions in the Red Sea.