Monday 20 November 2023

Japanese Car Carrier Hijacked by Houthi Militia, Accused of Belonging to Israel


The Japanese government, on Monday (20/11/2023) condemned the hijacking of a car transporting ship operated by Nippon Yusen, a Japanese logistics company, by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirozaku Matsuno said the ship named Galaxy Leader operated by Nippon Yusen was not owned by Israel but was registered in the Bahamas. The crew also does not have Israeli citizenship.

He said the ship carrying the car was hijacked by the Houthi militia while it was sailing in southern Yemen on Sunday (19/11/2023). The Japanese government is trying to free the ship.

“We strongly condemn this piracy,” stressed Matsuno as reported by the Japan Times.

Previously the Houthis, as reported by Al Jazeera, said they were holding the ship because it belonged to Israel. Houthi militia spokesman Yahya al-Sarea said the seizure of the ship was a reaction to Israeli atrocities in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Matsuno confirmed that the Galaxy Leader crew had 25 people. They come from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico and Romania. There are no Israelis or Japanese citizens on board the ship, which is currently being held in Yemen.

Matsuno said that currently the Japanese government is communicating with Israel and the Houthis so that the ship is released. The Israeli government itself emphasized that the ship did not belong to an Israeli company and did not have an Israeli crew.

Japan is also asking for help from Oman, Iran and Saudi Arabia to free the ship.

The Houthis, a militia currently rebelling in Yemen, have previously threatened to crack down on Israeli ships sailing in waters near Yemen.

Previously, the Houthis also announced that they had fired ballistic missiles and drones at Israel as a form of resistance to Israel’s invasion of Gaza following the Hamas attack on October 7.

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