Iranian Navy to Escort Cargo Ship to Yemen

Iranian navy plans to escort a cargo ship bound for the Yemeni port of Hodaida, which is controlled by Houthi fighters, Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday quoting a naval commander.

The Iran Shahed cargo ship, owned by Tehran-based Valfajr Shipping, is said to be carrying humanitarian aid to the country’s population in dire need of food and supplies.

Navigation in Yemen’s territorial waters was banned by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 12th. Under the ban, ships are not allowed into Yemen unless inspected and approved by the Saudi-led coalition forces.

Only emergency food and medical aid vessels are allowed entry and even then only after being searched.

The intention behind the decision is to stop shipments that could assist the Houthi led forces in their conflict with the government forces.

As a result, the Iran-flagged Iran Shahed that headed for the port on Monday, faces interception and inspection by Saudi-led coalition forces as well.

“The 34th fleet, which is currently in the Gulf of Aden, has special responsibility to protect the Iranian humanitarian aid ship,” IRNA quoted Admiral Hossein Azad as saying.

The fleet in question is comprised of a destroyer and support vessel patrolling international waters off Yemen.

The two conflicting sides in Yemen agreed on a  five-day ceasefire to allow food and medicine into the country.

Yemen imports 90% of its foodstuffs, making it particularly vulnerable to naval siege tactics.

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World Maritime News Staff