On Sunday 19th November, 2023 , NYK Chartered Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) GALAXY LEADER was named hijacked by Iran-affiliated Houthi militia, who described her as “an Israeli ship,” and taken to a Yemeni port. Al Jazeera News Agency cited a Houthi spokesman as saying the seizure of the ship was in response to the “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank. She was bound to India with no cargo aboard.
According to US officials, at around 1300 hrs, on Sunday 19th November local time, a helicopter hovered over the car carrier and several armed individuals rappelled down to the deck of which the Yemeni Houthi militia released a video showing its forces embarking the ship GALAXY LEADER. The video, alongside a satellite image, holds several clues about when and where the empty vehicles carrier was hijacked
Isle of Man based Galaxy Maritime, the vessel’s registered owner, is affiliated with Ray Car Carriers, the world’s largest car carrier leasing company, which is controlled by Israeli business man Rami Ungar.
The office of the Israeli Prime Minister released this statement
“Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel.
“The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.
“Onboard the vessel are 25 crew members of various nationalities including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican and NO ISRAELIS are onboard….
The last received AIS location signal showed the GALAXY LEADER in the Red Sea, between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, at 1136 hrs UTC on Saturday,18th November . Absence of further signals doesn’t mean AIS was off; she could have simply been out of reach.
According to Equasis statistics, the ISM manager will be Stamco Ship Management of Greece.
Per Reuters, Galaxy Maritime released a statement on Monday indicating that communication with the vessel was lost on November 19 and that the ship was transported to an anchorage at Yemen’s Hodeidah port.
Meanwhile on Tuesday 28th November, satellite images collected by Maxar Technologies show her anchored offshore of As Salif with a support tender vessel alongside.
Japan strongly condemned the hijacking and is monitoring the situation with both air and marine assets.
Also yesterday Tuesday 28th November, 2023 a Japanese Air Self Defense Force Kawasaki C-2 transport aircraft was seen in Israel Airspace.