Three crew dead after Houthi missile attack on ship off Yemen

Three crew members of the True Confidence dry bulk carrier were killed in a Houthi missile attack off Yemen on Wednesday, the owners and manager of the ship have confirmed.

Two other crew members were seriously injured in the attack in the Gulf of Aden, they said. The ship is drifting away from land and salvage arrangements are being made.

A spokesperson for India’s Navy said its maritime security operations team arrived at 4.45pm on Wednesday and helped to rescue 21 crew members after the vessel caught fire, forcing crew to abandon the ship.

The rescue was carried out using a helicopter and boats. Critical medical aid was provided to injured crew.

British Foreign Secretary James Cameron said in a statement: “Appalled to hear about the deaths of MV True Confidence international crew members in a Houthi attack in the Red Sea. Our thoughts are with their families.

“We condemn the Houthis' reckless and indiscriminate attacks on global shipping and demand they stop. We will continue to stand up for freedom of navigation and back our words with actions.”

The attack is believed to be the first time serious injuries have been reported since Yemen's Houthi movement began attacking ships in one of the world's busiest waterways last year.

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday, the British Embassy said: "We condemn the Houthis' indiscriminate and reckless attacks on international cargo ships, and demand that they stop.

“We will continue to defend freedom of navigation, and back our words with action.”

The Greek operator of the True Confidence said the vessel was struck about 50 nautical miles southwest of the Yemeni port of Aden and was drifting and ablaze.

They said crew on board included 15 Filipinos, four Vietnamese, two Sri Lankans, an Indian and a Nepali national.

Yemen's Houthis issued a statement claiming responsibility.

A US defence official said smoke was seen coming from the True Confidence and added a lifeboat had been seen in the water near the ship.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it received a report of an incident 54 nautical miles southwest of Aden, which lies near the entrance to the Red Sea.

The UKMTO added that the crew had abandoned the boat and was "no longer under command".

"Coalition forces are supporting the vessel and the crew," UKMTO said.

Houthi militants in Yemen have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians to oppose Israel's military actions in Gaza.

A number of ships have been damaged in such strikes. Four days ago, the Rubymar, a UK-owned bulk carrier, became the first ship to sink as a result of a Houthi attack, after floating for two weeks with severe damage from a missile strike. All crew were safely evacuated from that vessel.

The United States and UK have launched retaliatory strikes against the Houthis intended to protect shipping.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The cost of insuring a seven-day voyage through the Red Sea has risen by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While the militia has said it would attack vessels with links to the UK, the US and Israel, shipping industry sources say all ships could be at risk.

The True Confidence is owned by the Liberian-registered company True Confidence Shipping and operated by the Greece-based Third January Maritime, both firms said in their joint statement. They said the ship had no link to the US.