An oil tanker was attacked off Yemen’s coast on Wednesday, May 31, while it was passing by the Bab Al-Mandab strait. Three rockets were fired at the tanker MT MUSKIE, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, and no casualties have been reported. The identity of the assailants is unknown, but Houthi militants have previously attacked vessels passing near Yemen’s coast in the recent months.
Houthi rebels control the western port of Hodeida and have carried out many attacks on Saudi navy patrols in the past six months.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the coalition-backed government in 2015. Rebels have regularly reported bombings on their positions in the capital Sana'a. Clashes have also occurred elsewhere, especially around Taiz; the besieged city is in the midst of a worsening humanitarian crisis, as rebel attacks have hindered aid deliveries from UNICEF. Recently, the United Nations (UN) humanitarian aid office in Yemen has announced that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year long conflict has reached 10,000 people with another 40,000 people wounded, and ten million in need of urgent assistance.
The Bab Al-Mandab strait is a major strategic strait via which four million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the US and Asia.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place.