London (Reuters) – The commercial ship Galaxy Leader, owned by Galaxy Maritime Ltd, was unlawfully boarded by military personnel via a helicopter on Nov. 19 and is currently located in the Hodeidah port area in Yemen, as confirmed by the vessel’s owner on Monday.
Communications with the ship were lost after the illegal boarding, according to the Isle of Man registered Galaxy Maritime Ltd. The company emphasized that it will not comment further on the political or geopolitical situation surrounding the incident.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels released video footage on Monday, revealing armed men descending from a helicopter to seize the cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. The United States condemned the seizure, labeling it a breach of international law, and called for the immediate release of the vessel and its multinational crew.
“The Houthi seizure of the motor vessel Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea is a flagrant violation of international law,” stated Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department. “We demand the immediate release of the ship and its crew, and we will consult with our allies and UN partners regarding appropriate next steps.”
The Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader’s crew comprises nationals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania. The vessel is chartered by Japan’s Nippon Yusen.
Galaxy Maritime expressed concern for the safety and security of the 25 crew members currently held by the perpetrators of this “criminal act” and underscored that the seizure represents a serious threat to international trade and a violation of freedom of passage for the global fleet.