UKMTO reports ship incident off Yemen Ship’s crew

ADEN, April 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s Maritime Trade Operations agency (UKMTO) said on Friday a ship off Yemen’s southern coast was involved in an “incident” with a government boat, downgrading the event from its initial assessment of one attack.

The agency had previously said the ship was attacked and shots were fired, adding that three boats, each with three or four people on board, were also sighted.

UKMTO later said it had confirmed the event by authorities as the activity of a government agency and described the event as an incident rather than an attack.

Responding to a request from Reuters, the Yemen Coast Guard confirmed a report by the Yemeni news agency Aden al-Ghad that a military police officer on board a coast guard boat was shot dead in the incident.

Maritime security firm Ambrey said that based on information provided to it, the vessel in question was a Cook Islands-flagged yacht, which was approached by the Yemen Coast Guard (YCG) after it failed to respond to radio calls .

“According to the YCG, a non-Ambrey armed security team on board the yacht then opened fire on the approaching Yemenis in an attempt to evade suspected pirates,” Ambrey said.

“The YCG returned fire and followed the yacht for about an hour until communication with the yacht could be established and the misunderstanding between the parties resolved.”

Several ships have been attacked in recent years off Yemen’s coast, which has been torn apart by an eight-year conflict between the Iran-allied Houthi group and a Saudi-led military coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

(Reporting by Adam Makary, Hatem Maher, Mohammed Alghobari, Lisa Barrington, and Jonathan Saul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Christopher Cushing, Nick Macfie, and Susan Fenton)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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