Tanker seized in Gulf of Aden, Filipinos among 22 crewmen held

By: Reuters November 27,2023 - 06:31 AM

Tanker seized in Gulf of Aden, Filipinos among 22 crewmen held. Photo is a Google map of Gulf of Aden.

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RIYADH — Filipino seafarers are among the 22 crewmen aboard an Israeli-linked tanker seized by unidentified armed individuals in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, November 27, the vessel’s managing company and a U.S. defence official said.

The incident, involving the chemical tanker Central Park, is the latest in a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since a brutal war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas broke out on Oct. 7.

“Our priority is the safety of our 22 crew onboard. The Turkish captained vessel has a multinational crew consisting of a crew of Russian, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Indian, Georgian and Filipino nationals,” said a statement of Zodiac Maritime Ltd, a London-headquartered international ship management company owned by Israel’s Ofer family.

READ: 17 Filipino seafarers among crewmen held hostage in Red Sea

Tanker called the Central Park seized

Zodiac Maritime manages the tanker, Central Park, which was carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when it was seized by the armed individuals.

Central Park, a small chemical tanker (19,998 metric tons), is a Liberian-flagged vessel, which was built in 2015 and is owned by Clumvez Shipping Inc, LSEG data showed. 

Zodiac Maritime said in a statement Central Park, which is carrying a full cargo of phosphoric acid, was involved in a suspected piracy incident while crossing international waters, approximately 54 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

Phosphoric acid is mostly used for fertilisers.

READ: DFA confirms 17 Filipino seafarers held hostage by Houthi rebels in Red Sea

Suspected piracy incident

The suspected piracy incident followed a seizure of an Israeli-linked cargo ship by Yemen Houthis, allies of Iran, in the southern Red Sea last week. The group, which also fired ballistic missiles and armed drones at Israel, vowed to target more Israeli vessels. 

There was no immediate comment from Houthi officials.

“U.S. and coalition forces are in the vicinity and we are closely monitoring the situation,” a U.S. official said.

Britain’s Maritime Trade Operations agency (UKMTO) said on Sunday it was aware of a possible attack in southwest Aden and called on other vessels to exercise caution.

READ: Houthis seize ship in Red Sea, Filipinos among 25 crewmen held 

Unclaimed attacks on vessels

The U.S. has blamed Iran for unclaimed attacks on several vessels in the region in the past few years. Tehran has denied involvement.

A container ship managed by an Israeli-controlled company was hit by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean, causing minor damage to the vessel but no injuries, a U.S. defence official said on Saturday.

Hamas fighters rampaged into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people. Since then, Israel has rained bombs on Gaza, killing about 14,000 people, roughly 40% of them children, Palestinian health authorities say.

Thirteen Israelis and four Thai nationals arrived in Israel early on Sunday after a second release of hostages held by Hamas following an initial delay caused by a dispute about aid delivery into Gaza.

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TAGS: Central Park, Filipinos, Tanker

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