UN WFP Supply Ship Attacked off Hodeidah

A supply vessel operating as part of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has been attacked in the Southern Red Sea, Dryad Maritime informed.

The vessel, identified as VOS Theia, was attacked by a skiff with six persons on board off Hodeidah, Yemen, on June 4, 2018.

At the time of the attack, the 2011-built vessel was waiting for permission to depart from an anchorage off Hodeidah having called at the port the day before.

The skiff fired upon VOS Theia and the Armed Security Team returned fire before the skiff retreated.

The vessel and crew were reported to be safe with no injuries or obvious damage to the vessel. An internal fire was reported but this was dealt with, according to Dryad Maritime.

As of June 6, the vessel, owned by Dutch Vroon Offshore Services, has continued its journey and is transiting south towards the Bab al Mandeb strait, likely to Djibouti where it will resupply.

This incident took place in proximity to the attacks on MT Abqaiq and KSA Khalid earlier in 2018. All these incidents are assessed to be a result of spillover from the conflict in Yemen.

It is most likely the vessel was fired upon by Houthi forces, who believed the vessel was passing information or otherwise a part of the Saudi-led coalition war effort against them, which is currently under 10km from Hodeidah itself.

“Overall, the risk to passing merchant traffic in this area remains low and has not changed as a result of this incident. Nonetheless, given the high threat level in the area, mariners should comply with advice from regional maritime authorities, maintain maximum distance from the Yemeni coast and maintain a rigorous watch for small craft,” Dryad Maritime advised.