A shocking incident unfolded in the Red Sea on Sunday when armed individuals hijacked the Galaxy Leader, a cargo ship registered under a British company partially owned by an Israeli businessman. The hijackers, believed to be backed by Iran, swooped onto the vessel via helicopter. Disturbing video footage released by the Houthis’ TV channel Al Masirah shows the raid taking place, with the armed men holding the crew at gunpoint.
The Galaxy Leader, operating under a Bahamian flag and on lease to Japanese company Nippon Yusen at the time, had been sailing from Turkey to India. The ship’s owner, Galaxy Maritime Ltd, confirmed that it had been boarded illegally by military personnel using a helicopter. The crew, composed of individuals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania, were left in a state of uncertainty as the hijackers took control of the ship.
Amidst the chaos, one crew member, Bulgarian national Danail Veselinov, a military veteran, has been identified. His wife, Sabina, spoke of their last communication before the hijacking took place and expressed her concerns for his safety. She mentioned that the hijackers had assured them that the crew was alive but gave no further details on their release.
The Houthi rebels, claiming responsibility for the hijacking, cited the ship’s ties to Israel as their motivation. They warned that any vessels connected to Israel would be considered “legitimate targets” until the conflict in Gaza concludes. The Israeli Defense Forces strongly condemned the incident, labeling it a “very grave incident of global consequence.” Despite earlier denials of the Galaxy Leader’s Israeli affiliation, shipping databases revealed links to Abraham Ungar, an influential figure in Israel.
The international community has voiced its outrage at this act of maritime piracy. The United States State Department called it a flagrant violation of international law and demanded the immediate release of the ship and its crew. The Japanese government expressed condemnation and announced negotiations with the Houthi rebels were already underway. Bulgarian authorities are working diligently to resolve the crisis, offering support and assistance to the families of the kidnapped crew members.
This harrowing attack serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities in maritime security. It raises concerns about the safety of cargo ships and the potential ramifications of geopolitical conflicts on international trade. The international community must unite in efforts to strengthen maritime security protocols to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is the Galaxy Leader?
- Who hijacked the Galaxy Leader?
- Why was the ship targeted?
- What happened to the crew during the hijacking?
- What is being done to secure the release of the ship and crew?
The Galaxy Leader is a cargo ship registered under a British company partially owned by an Israeli businessman.
The hijacking was carried out by armed individuals believed to be backed by Iran and affiliated with the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Houthi rebels targeted the ship due to its connections to Israel. They declared that any vessels linked to Israel would be considered “legitimate targets” until the conflict in Gaza ends.
The armed hijackers held the crew at gunpoint while raiding the cargo ship. The crew members are composed of individuals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania.
The United States, Japan, and other countries are condemning the hijacking and demanding the immediate release of the ship and crew. Negotiations with the Houthi rebels are already underway.