Fire extinguished on oil tanker off Yemen coast after Houthi attack

Yemeni rebel forces attacked the Marlin Luanda in the Gulf of Aden

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A fire has been extinguished on a fuel tanker that was hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen.

The Marlin Luanda was sailing in the Gulf of Aden when it was struck on Friday evening, in the latest attack on international shipping by the Iran-backed Yemeni rebels.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack that caused a fire in a cargo tank.

There were no casualties or injuries among the crew, according to London-based multinational company Trafigura, which said the vessel was operating on its behalf.

"We are pleased to confirm that all crew on board the Marlin Luanda are safe and the fire in the cargo tank has been fully extinguished. The vessel is now sailing towards a safe harbour," the company said in an update on Saturday.

Houthi forces attacked the Marlin Luanda, describing it as a British oil tanker, in the Gulf of Aden, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said.

“The strike was direct and resulted [in] the burning of the vessel,” he added.

Shipping data suggests the vessel was sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

The UK government later said Britain and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately” to the attack.

“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," said a representative.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched attacks on ships in the Red Sea over Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Hours after the Marlin Luanda was hit, US forces attacked a Houthi missile that was ready to be launched towards the Red Sea, Central Command said on Saturday.

The US and British militaries have launched strikes on Houthi sites over the past several weeks as tension has increased.

US and UK carry out new air strikes in Yemen

US and UK carry out new air strikes in Yemen

Earlier on Friday, a spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We continue to call on [the Houthis] to step back from such action. We're clear that this is illegal and unacceptable.”

The Houthis say the attacks on global trade routes are part of their pressure campaign against Israel's war in Gaza, and in solidarity with Hamas.

Commercial traffic passing through Egypt's Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, has dropped by 42 per cent in the past two months amid the Houthi attacks, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Updated: January 27, 2024, 1:55 PM