Posted on November 19, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Yemeni Rebels have hijacked the Saudi Arabian-flagged Tug, Rabigh-3 during the evening hours of Sunday the 17th of November, while the vessel was transiting through the Red Sea.
The hijacking took place at approximately 23:00 hours, while the vessel was in the process of towing a South Korean drilling rig through the southern Red Sea.
The Saudi-backed, Yemeni Government coalition has released more information as to the incident.
“On Sunday, during the sailing of the tugboat Rabigh-3 in the southern Red Sea, it was hijacked and subjected to armed robbery by terrorist elements affiliated to the Houthi militia.”
“The boat was towing a [marine rig] owned by a South Korean company,” said the coalition spokesman, Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Maliki.
According to the Prime Minister of Yemen, Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, the Korean vessel and two accompanying boats have been seized by the rebels, in what he describes as a “dangerous escalation” of hostilities.
This move on behalf of the Houthis comes after a lull in activity on behalf of the rebels.
The leader of the rebels, Mohammed al-Houthi did acknowledge the seizure of the ship in a tweet and suggested that the rebels merely acted in defence of their country’s territorial waters.
“The Yemeni coastguard is doing its job to determine whether it … belongs to the aggressors or to South Korea”.
“If it is for South Korea, they will be released after legal procedures … we assure everyone not to worry about the crew,” reads the statement by al-Houthi.
The Houthis claim that the vessel was operating within Yemeni territorial waters, and as such, the seizure falls within their purview.
According to some sources, South Korea has already requested for the release of its crew.
The story is still unfolding, and information coming from different sources is convoluted, but it would seem that the Houthi rebels successfully seized 2-3 vessels during the incident.