A cargo ship named Galaxy Leader, sailing under the Bahamian flag and operated by a Japanese company, has been seized by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.
The incident, though not of Israeli origin, has raised concerns and drawn connections to Iran, with Israeli authorities branding it a “terrorist act.”
Reports indicate that the vessel departed from Turkey en route to India and has a diverse crew comprising Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Filipinos, and Mexicans.
The Bulgarian Interior Minister, Kalin Stoyanov, has expressed concerns about the potential abduction of two Bulgarians, including the captain, though these details are yet to be confirmed.
The hijacking comes in the wake of threats by Houthi leaders, who, allegedly supported by Iran, had previously warned of targeting ships in the Red Sea amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The ship has reportedly been taken to the Yemeni coast, and a military spokesperson issued a warning against activities involving Israeli-owned vessels in the Red Sea.
While there are no confirmed Israelis on board, the ship’s connections to Israeli ownership or operation have come under scrutiny.
The vessel is associated with Ray Car Carriers, a company founded by Abraham Ungar, a prominent Israeli businessman. Ungar has acknowledged the incident but refrained from providing detailed comments.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has distanced Israel from the ship’s ownership or crew. Despite this, there are historical connections between incidents in the region and properties owned by Ungar in the Gulf of Oman.
Ray Shipping, another company under the same umbrella, has been involved in training for Bulgaria’s Nikola Vaptsarov Higher Naval School and employed over a thousand Bulgarians, as per available information.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister’s Office has condemned the hijacking, labelling it as Iranian terrorism and a threat to global shipping security.
The situation is complex, with geopolitical tensions at play, and how the international community will respond remains to be seen.
This incident underscores the fragile maritime security situation in the Red Sea and the potential ripple effects of conflicts in the Middle East.
The safety and well-being of the diverse crew on board the Galaxy Leader are of paramount concern, and the international community awaits further details on the ongoing situation.
As the situation unfolds, diplomatic channels will likely be activated to address the hijacking and its broader implications for regional stability.
The need for a coordinated international response to ensure the safety of shipping lanes and the protection of civilian crews is more critical than ever in the face of these escalating tensions.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members