VIDEO: Shipping industry appalled as Houthi attacks continue

Written by Nick Blenkey
shipping industry appalled by drone boat attack

Image: Screengrab from YouTube video

Video has emerged showing the Houthi attack on the MV Tutor with an explosive laden drone boat. That attack eventually led to the sinking of the vessel, which has now been confirmed by UKMTO. That attack, and the subsequent attack on the MV Verbena, underscore the deadly nature of the ongoing attacks and shipping industry outrage and anguish is growing.

Efforts by CENTCOM to degrade Houthi capabilities continue. On June 19 it said: In the past 24 hours, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) forces successfully destroyed two Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed surface vessels (USV) in the Red Sea.   Separately, USCENTCOM forces successfully destroyed one ground control station and one command and control node in a Houthi controlled area of Yemen.

Unfortunately, the Houthis seem to have all too much success in acquiring weaponry. In these circumstances, the shipping industry itself can do little except make statements about the gravity of the situation.

The attack on the Tutor was immediately condemned by IMO Secretary General Arsenio Dominguez, who released this statement:

Once again, I am appalled at the fact that seafarers going about their work continue to be targeted and injured. I am truly saddened to learn that one crew member is currently unaccounted for on merchant vessel Tutor, following an attack on the ship in the Red Sea.

My thoughts and those of IMO, are with the family of the crew member.

I strongly condemn any type of attack against international shipping, regardless of its motivation or cause.

I demand all governments and relevant organizations to provide maximum assistance to seafarers affected, and to spare no effort in finding a resolution to this crisis.

This situation cannot go on. Everybody is going to feel the negative effect if international shipping is not able to trade as normal. But our commitment is, above all, safeguarding the safety of all seafarers.”

Now, in the face of the continuing attacks, the leading shipping industry trade associations have released a joint statement condemning the attacks:

The shipping community is appalled and deeply saddened with the tragic news that, yet another seafarer seems certain to have been killed in a drone boat strike on Wednesday 12 June while on board the MV Tutor in the Red Sea. We utterly condemn these assaults which directly contravene the fundamental principle of freedom of navigation.

Our thoughts and condolences go to the family and loved ones of the seafarer who tragically lost their life. It is deplorable that innocent seafarers are being attacked while simply performing their jobs, vital jobs which keep the world warm, fed, and clothed.

This is the second fatal attack in which our seafarers have been caught in the crosshairs of geopolitical conflicts. Three seafarers tragically lost their lives when the True Confidence was attacked earlier this year. And we must not forget the crew members from the Galaxy Leader and MSC Aries who are still being held captive.

Furthermore, we strongly condemn the attack on the cargo ship Verbena on Thursday 13 June which left a seafarer severely injured by anti-ship cruise missiles.

This is an unacceptable situation, and these attacks must stop now. We call for States with influence in the region to safeguard our innocent seafarers and for the swift de-escalation of the situation in the Red Sea. We have heard the condemnation and appreciate the words of support, but we urgently seek action to stop the unlawful attacks on these vital workers and this vital industry.

We hope that on this year’s Day of The Seafarer on Tuesday 25 June the world takes a moment to recognise the immense contribution that seafarers make to the global economy and the unjust circumstances they are facing in the Red Sea and across the world.

The shipping industry trade association co-signatories to the statement are:

  • Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA),
  • BIMCO,
  • Cruise Lines international Association (CLIA),
  • European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA),
  • International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO),
  • International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH),
  • International Chamber of Shipping (ICS),
  • International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA),
  • International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC),
  • International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA),
  • International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA),
  • The Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA),
  • World Shipping Council (WSC).
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