Houthis Target Norwegian Tanker Delivering Crude Oil to Israel
Yemen’s Houthis carry out a missile attack on a Norwegian commercial tanker en route to an Israeli terminal.
The recent conflict between Israel and Gaza has had far-reaching consequences, with the Houthis, an Iran-aligned group from Yemen, targeting vessels in critical shipping lanes and launching attacks on Israel from a distance of over 1,000 miles. On Tuesday, the Houthis claimed responsibility for hitting the STRINDA, a Norwegian commercial tanker, with a missile. The group stated that the attack was in response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and the vessel’s delivery of crude oil to an Israeli terminal. However, the ship’s owner, Mowinckel Chemical Tankers, clarified that the STRINDA was actually carrying a cargo of biofuel feedstock to Italy, not crude oil.
This incident highlights the complex nature of the conflict in the Middle East and emphasizes the risks associated with it. The Houthis’ actions, such as targeting all ships heading to Israel and attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes, have significant implications for international shipping companies. This situation requires an international solution, as stated by Pentagon spokesperson Major General Patrick Ryder during a press conference on Tuesday.
International Response to the Attack
The United States Navy destroyer Mason promptly responded to distress calls from the STRINDA and provided assistance to the crew, who were dealing with a fire onboard. The U.S. military confirmed that the vessel was struck by a land-based cruise missile fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen. In response to the escalating conflict, Israel deployed one of its most advanced warships, a Sa’ar 6 class corvette, in the Red Sea. Additionally, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to travel to the Middle East next week to address the situation.
Conflict Spreads in the Region
The Gaza conflict has had a ripple effect throughout the region, with Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah exchanging fire and Iranian-backed militias attacking U.S. military bases in Iraq. Furthermore, French frigate FREMM Languedoc intercepted and destroyed a drone that posed a threat to the STRINDA. This complex aerial attack originated from Yemen. These incidents demonstrate the growing complexity and gravity of the conflict.
Additional Details About the STRINDA
The STRINDA, loaded with vegetable oil and biofuels, was en route to Venice from Malaysia. The cargo consisted of 15 thousand tons of residues and waste from vegetable oil processing, which was destined for Eni’s biorefineries in Italy. The vessel had a tentative Israeli port call scheduled for January, but this information was withheld until the ship and crew were safe.
The Houthi spokesman reiterated the group’s commitment to blocking ships heading to Israeli ports until Israel allows the entry of food and medical aid into the Gaza Strip. Israel, however, denies imposing restrictions on essential supplies to Gaza.
International Condemnation and Response
Norway’s deputy foreign minister, Eivind Vad Petersson, condemned the attack on the STRINDA and expressed solidarity with civilian shipping. The United States and Britain have also condemned the attacks on shipping and implicated Iran for supporting the Houthis. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has urged the United States to exercise restraint in responding to these attacks.
Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-12-12 19:55:00
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