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Piracy lingers in one of the world’s important waterways.
 
11/26/2020
 

Houthis Seize Vessels in Red Sea

Piracy lingers in one of the world’s important waterways.

BY WARREN REINSCH

The Iranian-backed Houthi militias seized three foreign trade vessels late Sunday afternoon near Uqban island at the southern end of the Red Sea.

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki announced in a statement on Monday that a Saudi vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig was captured in the raid. The other two vessels were a South Korean towboat and sand dredger.

Following the seizure of the vessels, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said it ordered a Navy ship conducting an anti-piracy operation in the Arabian Sea near Oman to redeploy to the Red Sea.

The Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV confirmed the seizure, adding that it took the vessels to the Yemeni port of Salif, north of Hodeidah, Yemen’s largest Red Sea port. Over the course of the Yemeni civil war, Houthi forces have been driven from most of Yemen’s coast; however, the movement still holds a few ports in the northwest, including Hodeidah.

Reuters reported that Maliki called the piracy a "terrorist operation" that poses a threat to the freedom of international trade through the Red Sea.

 
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