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Updated January 27th, 2024 at 11:32 IST

Houthi Missile Attack Sets Ablaze British Oil Tanker, UK Says it Has 'Right to Respond'

An oil tanker stationed in the Gulf of Aden was set on fire after the Yemeni militant group – Houthis launched a missile attack against the British vessel.

Houthis attack US ships in Middle East.
Houthis attack ships in Middle East. | Image:AP/Representative
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Sana'a - Amid the brewing tensions in the Middle East, an oil tanker stationed in the Gulf of Aden was set on fire after Yemeni militant group – Houthis launched a missile attack against the British vessel. The Houthi attack on the Marlin Luanda, a petroleum products tanker in the Gulf of Aden, was the first after the US and the UK launched joint airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen for the second time. The ship's owner, Trafigura said that the British vessel Marlin Luanda was carrying Russian refined oil and "was struck by a missile as it transited the Red Sea" on Friday. The operator also mentioned that the firefighting equipment on board is being deployed to suppress and control the fire caused in one cargo tank on the starboard side," CNN reported.

Shortly after the attack, the Iran-backed militant group claimed responsibility for the incident and insisted that they fired the tanker in response to the “American-British aggression against our country [Yemen]” and in support of the Palestinian people. “In vindication of the oppressed Palestinian people, in support and solidarity with our brothers in the Gaza Strip, and within the response to the American-British aggression against our country. Yemeni naval forces carried out a targeting operation on the British oil ship (MARLIN LUANDA) in the Gulf of Aden, using a number of appropriate naval missiles, the strike was direct and resulted in the burning of the vessel,” the group said in a statement.

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“Yemeni Armed Forces persist with their military operations: enforcing a blockade on Israeli navigation in the Red and Arabian seas until a ceasefire is achieved in Gaza, and food and medicine are allowed into the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm that they are taking all military procedures within the right to defend dear Yemen and in confirmation of the continuous practical solidarity with the Palestinian people,” the statement further reads. 

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The UK says it has the ‘right to respond’

Meanwhile, the British government insisted that the United Kingdom and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately”. “We are aware of reports that the M/V Marlin Luanda, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, has sustained damage from an attack in the Gulf of Aden. Current reports suggest no casualties and nearby coalition vessels are on the scene,” a UK government spokesperson told local reporters, The Guardian reported. “We have been clear that any attacks on commercial shipping are completely unacceptable and that the UK and our allies reserve the right to respond appropriately," the British official furthered. 

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The tanker which was set on fire was carrying Russian naphtha bought below the price cap in line with G7 sanctions, The Guardian reported. Trafigura, a trading firm with offices in London also noted that the authorities are still in contact with the 250-metre-long vessel. “On Jan. 26, at approximately 7:45 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired one anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. “The ship issued a distress call and reported damage. USS Carney (DDG 64) and other coalition ships have responded and are rendering assistance. No injuries have been reported at this time,” the body furthered. 

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Published January 27th, 2024 at 11:32 IST

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