Yemen's Houthi rebels attack oil tanker with 25 Indian crew onboard in Red Sea

A Houthi fighter stands on the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea in this photo released November 20, 2023. Photo: Houthi Military Media/Handout via Reuters

New Delhi: Yemen's Houthi rebels launched a drone attack on an oil tanker with 25 Indian crew onboard in the south Red Sea. The US military said the attack was unleashed on the commercial oil tanker named MV Sai Baba, registered in Gabon, a country in Central Africa.

The Indian Navy said while the vessel is not an Indian-flagged one as is being claimed, all crew members on board are safe. The tanker sustained minor damage. Officials said MV Sai Baba is a Gabon-flagged vessel and it had received a certification from the Indian Register of Shipping.

This is the second attack on an Indian-owned vessel by the Houthi rebels. A day ago, a chemical tanker named Chem Pluto fell victim to a drone attack off the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea.

The attack on MV Sai Baba came after a failed attempt on Norwegian-registered oil tanker MV Blaamanen. While the US blamed the Iran-backed Houthi rebels for the attack, the rebels claimed it was a US missile that hit the oil tanker.

The Houthis have disrupted world trade for weeks with attacks on at least 15 vessels passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea in what they say is a response to Israel's war in Gaza.

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