Coalition rejects Houthi claim it is behind attack on refugee boat that left 42 dead

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri. (SPA)
Updated 17 March 2017
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Coalition rejects Houthi claim it is behind attack on refugee boat that left 42 dead

JEDDAH/ADEN: A military vessel and a helicopter gunship Friday attacked a boat packed with Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen, killing at least 42 people, said Yemeni officials and a survivor who witnessed the attack.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, dismissed Houthi accusations that the coalition carried out the attack.
He told Arab News that the coalition forces had not been involved in fighting in Al-Hodeida where the attack took place. “There has been no firing by the coalition in this zone,” the spokesman said.
A Yemeni trafficker who survived the attack said the boat was filled with Somali refugees, including women and children, who were trying to reach Sudan from war-torn Yemen.
Al-Hassan Ghaleb Mohammed said the boat had left from Ras Arra, along the southern coastline in Al-Hodeida province, and was 50 km off the coast, near the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, when the military vessel and then the helicopter gunship opened fire.
He described a scene of panic in which the refugees held up flashlights, apparently to show that they were poor migrants. He said the helicopter then stopped firing, but only after dozens had been killed. Mohammed was unharmed in the attack.
A top official with the UN’s migration agency said 42 bodies have been recovered from the attack. Mohammed Abdiker, emergencies director at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, said the attack at around 3 a.m. on Friday was “totally unacceptable” and that combatants should have checked who was aboard the boat “before firing on it.”
He said about 75 men and 15 women who survived the attack were taken to detention centers, and some bodies were laid in a fish market in Al-Hodeida because of a lack of space in mortuaries.
— with input from AFP, AP


Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz for breaking ‘maritime rules’

Updated 10 min 48 sec ago
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Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz for breaking ‘maritime rules’

  • UK government convened an emergency COBRA meeting to formulate its response
  • The Stena company responsible for the ship also released a statement

TEHRAN: Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Friday they had confiscated a British tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules."

The Stena Impero tanker "was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules," the Guards' official website Sepahnews announced.

The UK government convened an emergency COBRA meeting to formulate its response and a foreign ministry spokesperson said: "We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf."

The Stena company responsible for the ship also released a statement, which read: "Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July, UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.


"There are 23 seafarers aboard. There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers. The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.

"Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019. We are in close contact with UK government authorities."