Houthis Hijack Israeli-linked Cargo Ship in Red Sea

Nov 19, 2023 6:06 pm | Ticker, Virtual Jerusalem

Israel Accuses Iran of Orchestrating Ship Seizure

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned what he called “another act of Iranian terrorism” following the hijacking of the Bahamas-flagged cargo ship, Galaxy Leader, by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. According to Israeli officials, the vessel, partially owned by Israeli businessman Rami Unger, was seized under the direction of Iran.

The Galaxy Leader, leased from a British company to a Japanese firm, was navigating from Turkey to India when it was overtaken. The ship, sailing under the Bahamas flag, was confirmed by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to have 25 crew members from various nationalities, including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino, and Mexican nationals. Israeli sources claimed that no Israelis are on board, though Arab sources claim otherwise and list Hebrew-sounding names in a list of purported crew members.

The Prime Minister’s Office has asserted that the capture of the Galaxy Leader represents a significant escalation in Iranian aggression and poses serious threats to international shipping security.

A Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, stated earlier on their Telegram channel that the group intends to target all vessels affiliated with Israeli companies or flying the Israeli flag. The Houthi-linked media further emphasized their aim to target vessels owned, operated, or carrying cargo linked to Israeli entities, urging all countries to prevent their citizens from working on such ships.

The implications of these threats extend beyond the usual wartime disruptions, potentially reclassifying the nature of such hijackings from cargo interference to acts of illegal piracy. This development raises concerns about the safety of international maritime routes and the broader implications of regional conflicts on global trade and security.