Houthi missile attack ignites fire on oil tanker

An oil tanker, the Marlin Luanda, was hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen and is now on fire in the Gulf of Aden, according to its operator, Trafigura. The incident occurred on Friday evening, after the Iran-backed Houthi movement claimed responsibility for targeting the vessel. The US military confirmed that the tanker was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile, resulting in a fire in one of the ship’s cargo tanks. Firefighting equipment is being used to contain the blaze, and naval ships have responded to the tanker’s distress signal.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on commercial shipping by the Houthis in and around the Red Sea. The group claims to be targeting vessels in the region in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is engaged in conflict with Hamas. In response, the US and UK, supported by other countries, have launched air strikes on Houthi targets.

In a statement, a Houthi spokesperson claimed that the Marlin Luanda was a British ship and was targeted in response to “American-British aggression against our country.” The oil tanker flies under the flag of the Marshall Islands and is operated by Trafigura, a global trading company with headquarters in London.

The UK government has condemned the attacks on commercial shipping as “completely unacceptable” and has stated that Britain and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately”.

The incident occurred 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden, according to the UK Maritime Trade Operations, which has warned other vessels in the area to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity.

The attack on the Marlin Luanda is part of a series of attacks by the Houthis on commercial vessels in the Red Sea since November, a key global shipping route. In response, the US Central Command conducted a strike against a Houthi anti-ship missile aimed into the Red Sea, destroying it in self-defense.

This attack highlights the ongoing tensions in the region and the impact of the conflict between the Houthis, the Yemeni government, and their international backers on global shipping and maritime security.

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