A ship hijacked by Yemeni rebels in the Red Sea has 11 crew on board from five countries, the United Arab Emirates told the United Nations Security Council president on Monday.
Seven of the crew are Indian and the others come from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, the UAE’s permanent representative said in a letter obtained by AFP.
It denounced the “act of piracy” against the UAE-flagged Rwabee, which the Huthi rebels seized on January 2.
The Iran-backed rebels say they seized the Rwabee in Yemeni waters and have released video which they say shows military equipment on board.
“This act of piracy is contrary to fundamental provisions of international law,” said the letter, signed by UAE ambassador Lana Nusseibeh and dated January 9.
“It also poses a serious threat to the freedom and safety of navigation as well as international trade in the Red Sea, and to regional security and stability.”
Nusseibeh described the Rwabee as a “civilian cargo vessel” that was leased by a Saudi company and was carrying equipment used at a field hospital. It was travelling on an international route, she added.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen to support the internationally-recognised government in March 2015 after the Huthis captured the capital, Sanaa, the previous September.
The UN estimated that the war would have killed an estimated 377,000 people directly or indirectly by the end of 2021, and calls it the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.