U.N. mission speaks to crew members of UAE-flagged vessel seized by Houthis with seven Indians on board

Deeply concerned about safety of 7 Indians on Houthi-seized ship; call for immediate release of crew, vessel: India at UNSC

January 13, 2022 12:50 pm | Updated 12:50 pm IST - United Nations

This image grab taken from a video broadcast by pro-Huthi Al-Masirah TV on January 3, 2022, shows a view of the Emirati-flagged vessel "Rwabee" in the Red Sea seized by Yemen's Huthi rebels and reportedly carrying Saudi military equipment, at an undisclosed location.

This image grab taken from a video broadcast by pro-Huthi Al-Masirah TV on January 3, 2022, shows a view of the Emirati-flagged vessel "Rwabee" in the Red Sea seized by Yemen's Huthi rebels and reportedly carrying Saudi military equipment, at an undisclosed location.

A United Nations mission said it has spoken to the crew members of a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel that was seized by Houthi rebels off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen and has seven Indians on board.

“As part of its routine weekly patrol, UNMHA visited As-Salif port and neighbouring areas this afternoon. The patrol team saw the Rwabee vessel from a distance and spoke to its crew members,” the U.N. Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) said in a tweet on January 12.

“The UNMHA patrol team also visited a fish market and a local school in As Salif to interact with the local population. No indication of militarisation was observed in the areas patrolled,” it said.

India has called for the immediate release of the seven Indian crew members on board the United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel Rwabee that was seized by Houthis off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen earlier this month.

India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, speaking at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Yemen on January 13, expressed grave concern over the seizure and detention of the UAE vessel Rwabee .

Mr. Tirumurti “called for the immediate release of 7 Indian crew members, expressed deep concern about their safety and well-being & that Houthis should ensure their safety till release”. India also called upon all parties to the conflict to immediately cease fighting, de-escalate the situation and engage unconditionally with the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen.

The External Affairs Ministry said on January 11 that all seven Indian sailors onboard a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel that was seized by Houthis off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen are safe and the Government is making all efforts to secure their early release.

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson in the Ministry, said India has been closely monitoring developments following the seizure of the UAE flagged ship Rwabee by the Houthis on January 2.

“We also understand from the company and other sources that all Indian crew members are safe. The government of India is making all efforts to secure their early release,” Mr. Bagchi said.

The Houthi rebels have a strong presence in parts of Yemen.

“We are in touch with the company operating the ship and have been informed that out of the 11 crew members onboard the ship, seven are from India,” Mr. Bagchi said while replying to a media query in New Delhi.

“We urge the Houthis to ensure the safety and well-being of the crew members and release them immediately. India is concerned at the recent intensification of fighting in Yemen and hopes that all parties will come to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution to the Yemen issue,” he added.

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