Yemen: Houthi rebels detain vessel towing South Korean oil rig

Yemeni rebel group Houthi has reportedly hijacked a Saudi vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig off the Island Karaman in the Red Sea.

South Korean, Yemeni diplomats meet over the Red Sea vessel detention
South Korean, Yemeni diplomats meet over the Red Sea vessel detention by the Houthi rebels / Image source: The Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs

According to the Saudi Press Agency, as cited by the international media, the Houthis on Sunday detained the Rabigh 3 tugboat which was towing an offshore drilling rig owned by a South Korean company.

It is worth noting that there are conflicting reports on the number and the types of the vessels detained as the Yemeni foreign ministry said “a South Korean ship and two accompanying vessels were detained,” while one can also find reports claiming “a dredge barge” and tugs were detained.

Reuters, CNN, and Al Jazeera have all reported that the Houthis seized a vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig.

The Saudi news agency has cited the Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadrami who condemned “the Houthi terrorists’ kidnapping of a South Korean ship and two accompanying boats off the island of Kamaran.”

The Yemeni foreign ministry condemned the vessel detention during a meeting with the South Korean Ambassador to Yemen Pak Woongchul. The foreign ministry said that “the dangerous Houthi escalation” posed a serious threat to the freedom of international navigation in the Red Sea.

The minister called for the immediate release of “the ship and its two boats and their crew in full as soon as possible.”

Houthi’s themselves said at their Almasirah Media Network that they had detained “three ships, including a Saudi ship, ‘Rabegh 3′ as they entered Yemen’s regional waters without earlier notice.” They did not mention the rig specifically.

According to Almasirah, the seized ships are harbored at the Salif port, “and legal measures are taken along with contacting the concerned parties.”

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to the Saudi news agency, and the Yemen Foreign Ministry hoping to get more info on the detained vessels. We will update the articles if we receive any response.


Offshore Energy Today Staff

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