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Greek-Owned Ship Takes on Water After Being Hit in Red Sea

Greek-Owned Ship Takes on Water After Being Hit in Red Sea
The bulk carrier, Lila II seen at sea on January 17, 2024 in Djibouti, Djibouti. Photographer: Luke Dray/Getty Images Europe

A bulk carrier has taken on water and is leaning to the side after being attacked while sailing through the Red Sea, underscoring the continuing risks facing ships trying to navigate a waterway long critical to global trade.

The Laax reported being struck by three ballistic missiles launched by Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Tuesday, US Central Command said in a statement. There were no injuries and the ship was able to continue on its voyage, according to the statement, which said a total of five missiles had been launched.

The vessel, about 750 feet (229 meters) long and able to transport about 80,000 tons of cargo, is sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Equasis international maritime database says the ship is run by a firm called Grehel Shipmanagement Co. in Piraeus, near Athens. A person answering the phone there said nobody was immediately available to comment.

The ship was targeted around 54 miles (87 kilometers) southwest of the Yemeni city of Hodeida, according to maritime security firm Ambrey. It issued a distress call saying the cargo hold was damaged and that the ship was taking on water causing it to list, Ambrey reported.

Yemen’s Houthis have carried out a series of assaults on ships transiting the waterway over the past few months in retaliation for Israel’s war in Gaza.

The attack will do little to encourage merchant trade back through the southern Red Sea, a waypoint for freighters using the Suez Canal to sail back and forth between Asia and Europe. Large numbers of bulk ships, container vessels, and tankers have chosen instead to go the long way around Africa.

In addition to the ballistic missile attack, Centcom said five drones launched from Houthi areas of Yemen were destroyed over the Red Sea on Tuesday.

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