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Houthi Attack Killed Two Filipino, One Vietnamese Ship Crew

The Philippines said two Filipino seafarers were killed following an attack by Houthi rebels on ships plying the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The bulk carrier True Confidence after a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden on March 6.
The bulk carrier True Confidence after a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden on March 6.

Two seafarers from the Philippines and another from Vietnam were killed by a Houthi missile attack on a ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, according to a statement from the vessel’s owners.

Another two Filipino crew members were “severely injured,” the nation’s Department of Migrant Workers said separately. 

The ship — a bulk commodities carrier called the True Confidence — has been abandoned, and is drifting well away from land while salvage efforts are arranged, according to its owners. All of the ship’s crew were taken to Djibouti by an Indian navy vessel that arrived late Wednesday, and the injured have been transfered to a local hospital. 

The attack marks the first confirmed deaths of crew members since the Houthis began attacks on commercial shipping in mid-November in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. It also raises further questions about how much risk shipowners are willing to take to ensure the safety of their crew members. Many vessels now avoid the region due to the violence, disrupting global trade.

The Yemen-based Houthis claimed responsibility for missile strike on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden. The strike on bulk carrier True Confidence resulted in the death of two Filipino seafarers, according to the Philippines government. At least one other person was killed, according to the US military. Bloomberg’s Dana Khraiche reports.Source: Bloomberg
The Yemen-based Houthis claimed responsibility for missile strike on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden. The strike on bulk carrier True Confidence resulted in the death of two Filipino seafarers, according to the Philippines government. At least one other person was killed, according to the US military. Bloomberg’s Dana Khraiche reports.Source: Bloomberg

“It is deeply saddening to follow the horrific reports of the casualties on the merchant vessel True Confidence,” Arsenio Dominguez, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, said in a statement. “Innocent seafarers should never become collateral victims.”

The True Confidence had a crew of 20, comprising one Indian, four Vietnamese and 15 Filipino nationals. Three armed guards - two from Sri Lanka and one from Nepal - were also on board, according its owners. 

The Iran-backed Houthis, who control much of Yemen, hit the carrier around 11:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday. It was the fifth anti-ship ballistic missile fired by the group in the last two days, the US military said. The volley of strikes underscores the difficulty of deterring the attacks despite military efforts by American and British forces.

Read More: Iran-Backed Houthis Prepare for Long Red Sea Battle With US

The group says its attacks are in support of Hamas in its war against Israel. They will continue, the Houthis say, until Israel pulls out of Gaza. The scope of the attacks also expanded after the US and UK began airstrikes on Yemen in the hope of curbing the Houthi salvos. 

The Houthis said the True Confidence is “a US ship,” which its owners and the Washington described as incorrect. The vessel is a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned carrier, US Central Command said.

Until recently, the vessel was owned by Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. A new owner took over in late February, according to the Equasis shipping registry. A representative for Oaktree declined to comment.

(Updates throughout.)

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