A Hong Kong-flagged sailboat was reportedly attacked off the coast of Yemen on Thursday, although the circumstances of the incident remain unclear, officials said.
The UK’s Maritime Trade Operations Group said the attack happened off Hodeidah, a contested port city that has been a flashpoint in Yemen’s years-long war.
He said an investigation was underway into the incident, without further details.
Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, told The Associated Press that the vessel involved was the Lakota, a 62ft (19m) sailboat flying the flag of Hong Kong.
Dryad said those on board were sailing in international waters and would be safe.
It was not immediately clear who owned the vessel or how many people were on board at the time of the incident.
MarineTraffic.com satellite tracking data analyzed by the AP showed the Lakota just west of the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea between Eritrea on the African mainland and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.
The ship was in Djibouti before sailing near the Yemeni coast.
The ship also hadn’t turned on its Automatic Identification System tracking system, which Dryad called “very strange,” given that the Red Sea is a major international shipping route.
“Several attempts were made to board him,” Dryad said. “Reports indicate that she managed to escape.”
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in the Middle East said it was aware of the attack, but declined to comment further immediately.
The Arab coalition has thwarted the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has long held the Yemeni capital of Sanaa as well as Hodeidah.
The incident marked the latest attack at sea amid the conflict. In January, the Houthis seized the UAE-flagged vessel Rwabee.
The ship’s Indian crew was released last month after the Houthis and the Arab Coalition reached a truce during the holy month of Ramadan.
The fragile truce is still in progress.
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