In a concerning turn of events, a Maltese-flagged Greek-owned bulk carrier, identified as the Zografia, became the latest victim of the escalating conflict in the Red Sea. The vessel, transiting northbound, was struck by a missile fired from Yemen, 76 nautical miles northwest of Saleef, according to reports from British maritime security firm Ambrey and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
The targeted ship, en route from Vietnam to Israel without cargo, sustained minor damage in the attack. Fortunately, all 24 crew members on board are reported to be safe, with no injuries, as confirmed by sources within the Greek shipping ministry.
This incident follows a series of events in the region, with rebels targeting commercial and military vessels in response to recent U.S. and UK-led airstrikes on rebel-linked sites in Yemen. Despite claims by the rebels that their attacks were initially aimed at vessels associated with another country, recent developments suggest an expansion of their targets.
Authorities had previously justified their actions as a show of solidarity with a specific region. However, their latest actions indicate a broader and more aggressive approach in the area, leading to heightened tensions.
The authorities, addressing the situation on Monday, defended the recent airstrikes as a “limited and proportionate response” to the unacceptable attacks on commercial vessels in a crucial shipping lane. Despite these efforts, rebels have remained undeterred, retaliating with multiple anti-ship missile launches targeting both civilian and military vessels.
The ongoing conflict has seen an uptick in rebel activity, with recent incidents including the targeting of an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden and a guided missile destroyer in the southern Red Sea. Fortunately, the destroyer managed to defend itself, shooting down the incoming missile. However, a bulk carrier was not as fortunate, sustaining damage to its cargo hold after being struck by an anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Aden.
In response to the airstrikes, a rebel military spokesman declared that the rebel group now considers vessels associated with specific countries as “hostile targets.” This ominous declaration further intensifies concerns about the safety and security of vessels navigating the troubled waters of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
As maritime tensions continue to rise, the international community is closely monitoring developments in the region. The targeting of civilian vessels and the expansion of rebel targets beyond those initially stated raises questions about the potential for further conflict and the safety of vital shipping routes. Efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis are urgently needed to ensure the security and stability of this strategic maritime corridor.