World Food Programme vessel attacked off Yemen

Unidentified forces attacked offshore supply ship VOS Theia (IMO 9585742), a United Nations aid vessel, off the main Yemeni port of Hodeidah at the weekend and started a fire in the engine room, port authorities said on Monday.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock, confirmed there had been an incident but said it was now over and that everyone was safe, but did not elaborate, Reuters reports.

The vessel was attacked after delivering a shipment at Hodeidah, Yemen’s Red Sea Ports Corporation said. Hodeidah is currently is held by the Iran-backed Houthi movement, termed “rebels” by the opposing Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

A WFP spokeswoman said an unidentified armed group aboard a skiff had opened fire and attempted to take over the vessel while it was some 60 km off the coast of Hodeidah. “Both the crew and the vessel are safe, with no injuries or obvious damage to the vessel,” spokeswoman Bettina Luescher said.

The ship was in anchorage, waiting for permission to leave from the Saudi-led military coalition, said the Ports Corporation.

“The vessel traffic office received a distress call from the VOS Theia at 17:30 (local time) on Sunday June 3rd about a fire in the vessel resulting from an external attack,” the Port Corporation said

2011-built, 1,678 gt, Gibraltar-flagged VOS Theia is owned by Offshore Support Vessels II BV care of manager Vroon Offshore Services SRL of Genoa, Italy. It is entered with North P&I Club on behalf of Offshore Support Vessels II BV.