Rwabee, a UAE-flagged cargo ship was hijacked by Yemeni terrorist outfit Houthis off the coast of Yemen’s Al Hudaydah governate on Sunday, 2nd January, while the vessel was on it’s way from the Saudi Arabian port of Al Jubail to the Jizan port, which is too, situated in Saudi Arabia.
Often described as the Houthi rebels, the Al Houthi, also known as Ansar Allah is an Islamic armed political movement which emerged from north Yemen’s Saada back during the 1990s. The Houthi movement is majorly a Zaidi Shia force, whose leaders are generally from the Houthi tribe. The Houthis were quick to claim responsibility of the vessel’s hijack, which occurred just before the midnight of Sunday, after the 68 meter long ship, which was claimed was loaded with medical equipment, was attacked by the armed rebels.
The Houthis accused the UAE-flagged vessel, claiming that Rwabee was an Emirati military cargo ship, which was carrying military equipment and entered Yemen’s waters illegally.
Brigadier General Turki Al Malki, the official spokesperson of the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen however, said, “At (23:57) on Sunday (2nd January 2022), the Cargo Ship (RWABEE) sailing under the flag of the United Arab Emirates was targeted through ‘piracy and hijacking’ while sailing off the coast of Al Hudaida Governorate.
“This act of Piracy by the terrorist Houthi militia is a credible threat that highlights the danger of the terrorist Houthi militia on the freedom of navigation and international trade in the South Red Sea and Bab Al Mandab Strait.
“The terrorist Houthi militia will bear full responsibility as a result of its criminal act of Piracy against the ship, which violates the customary International Humanitarian Law, the San Remo Manual on Armed Conflicts at Sea and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“The militia must promptly release the ship, or the Coalition Forces will undertake all necessary measures and procedures to handle this violation, including the use of force if necessary.”
Al Malki added that Rwabee was conducting a maritime mission from the Socotra Island to Jizan Port, and was laden with medical field equipment which were used to operate the Saudi Field Hospital on the Island. The field hospital has successfully concluded it’s mission following the establishment of a hospital on the island.
He further said that the vessel’s field hospital equipment includes ambulances, medical equipment, tents, communication devices, field laundry units, technical support equipment, security support equipment and a field kitchen.