Yemen, Vessel attacked off Hodeidah

BACKGROUND

A vessel delivering food aid to Yemen has been attacked by gunman while waiting at an anchorage off the port of Hodeidah.

The incident happened on June 3, some 32 nautical miles (nm) from the coast.

The VOS THEIA was being used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Reports say it had unloaded its cargo in Hodeidah and was waiting in the anchorage for permission from the Saudi-led military coalition to leave.

A spokesperson for the WFP said an unidentified group in a skiff had opened fire on the vessel.

Some reports said the shots started a fire on the VOS THEIA but the spokeswomen, in a statement to Reuters, said the vessel and crew were safe and that there were no obvious signs of damage.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

This was the second account of an attack on June 3 on a vessel off the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. It is not clear if the two reports were describing the same incident.

The maritime security information provider, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), had earlier carried a report that a skiff had fired on an unnamed merchant vessel 50 nm from the port.

Both reports came against the background of Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

The Saudi-led military coalition has been drawing in on Hodeidah, although it is unclear if it intends to take it.

Rebel Houthi forces, who hold the port, have threatened to block shipping in the Red Sea if Hodeidah is directly threatened.

Waters off Yemen’s Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are considered a High Risk Area (HRA).

The situation is fluid and threats to shipping can change rapidly.

Ship operators should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage into the area using the latest threat information.

Useful sources include MSC-HOA, NATO Shipping Centre, UKMTO, MARLO and IMB.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page