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US condemns Houthi sinking of ships in the Red Sea

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, June 21, 2024

Aftermath of Houthi attack on ship. (Photo/Reuters/EYEPRESS Images).

The United States government reiterated its condemnation on Thursday of “indiscriminate” attacks by Yemeni’s Houthi Rebels on civilian ships in the Red Sea disrupting maritime navigation.

US Department of State said the latest aggression by the Iran-backed group hit an M/V Tutor ship which sunk early this week – and another ship which has been abandoned and adrift in the sea.

According to several media reports, the Houthis claimed that the ship was attacked because its owner ignored warnings not to sail to Israeli ports.

Washington said the abandoned vessel posses a navigational hazard to other maritime traffic, adding that Houthi attacks also risk a dire economic and humanitarian situations across the Red Sea region.

The statement added that on March 6, the Houthis previously killed three seafarers aboard the MV True Confidence and sank the MV Rubymar on March 2, posing a critical threat to Red Sea ecosystems.

“Houthi attacks continue to hinder vital humanitarian assistance from reaching Yemenis and pose dire risks to economic and humanitarian conditions in countries across the Red Sea region and to the broader global economy,” the statement said.

The US said the actions of the militia group are a clear failure to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2722’s which demand that the Houthis “immediately cease all such attacks.”

The US government added that it will take necessary action with partners to protect freedom of navigation and commercial shipping from Houthi attacks in “this critical international waterway and to safeguard vital economic and humanitarian assistance to countries in the region.”

“We once again call on the Houthis to release all detainees, including the United Nations, diplomatic, and non-governmental organization staff they detained earlier this month. ”

The Iran-aligned Houthis have been targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea region since November, in what they say are attacks in solidarity with Palestinian Arabs in Gaza.

In the wake of the uptick in Houthi attacks, the US formed a coalition, made up of more than 20 countries, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in the Red Sea from attacks by the Houthis.

The conflict in the Red Sea is seen as a major factor hindering South Sudan’s chief crude oil exports as the Houthi attacks scare away buyers, according to South Sudan officials.

Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said in March this year, that the country’s crude oil would have difficulty being exported from Port Sudan due the attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

“Even if the crude were to reach port Sudan, it would not be possible to ship it for sale due to the threat of blocking shipping in the Red Sea,” he said.

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