Japan firm-operated cargo ship seized in Red Sea

A cargo ship operated by a Japanese company has been seized in the Red Sea, the Israeli military and government said Sunday, blaming the pro-Iran Yemeni armed group Houthis.

A Japanese government official said that Nippon Yusen K.K., more widely known as NYK Line, notified the country's transport ministry that a cargo ship the Tokyo-based company operated has been seized.

"The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia," the Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement.

No Israelis were aboard the ship, it added.

Nippon Yusen said the company operated the ship as the car-carrier Galaxy Leader. The 25 crew members were from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico and Romania.

The Israeli Defense Forces said, "The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence."

The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, according to the military.

© Kyodo News