Yemen's Houthis target cargo ship full of corn headed for Iran, shipping analysts believe

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Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis person targeted a cargo vessel successful nan Red Sea which shipping analysts said connected Monday had been carrying maize to Iran.

It appeared to beryllium nan first clip nan Houthis person targeted an Iran-bound alloy since starting attacks connected world shipping successful solidarity pinch Palestinians complete the Israel-Hamas war successful Gaza, shipping sources said.

A U.S. defense charismatic said it was apt that nan ship had been targeted but not hit, but provided nary further comment. Earlier reports by maritime specialists suggested nan alloy whitethorn person been damaged but that location were nary casualties.

The Houthis identified nan alloy arsenic nan Star Iris. The group's subject spokesman, Yahya Saree, said successful a televised connection nan vessel was American but maritime-shipping trackers said nan Marshall Islands-flagged vessel was Greek-owned.

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The Star Iris had been transporting a maize cargo from Brazil to Iran, according to vessel search study from information and analytics group Kpler.

"The Star Iris, for illustration each Iran-bound bulker, had not diverted distant from nan Red Sea, possibly unafraid of attacks from Iran-backed Houthis who could beryllium considered 'friendly' fixed nan vessel's destination," said Ishan Bhanu, lead cultivation commodities expert astatine Kpler.

"It was carrying maize from Brazil. At a projected 4.5 cardinal tonnes for this year, flows from Brazil make for nan mostly of Iran's maize imports."

A location information charismatic said nan onslaught appeared designed to "show Iran does not power nan Houthis and they enactment independently", and that nan Houthis had informed Tehran successful advance.

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Houthi militants successful Yemen, who power nan country's astir populous regions, person many times fired connected world commercialized shipping since mid-November. Their targets person been vessels pinch commercialized ties to nan United States, Britain aliases Israel, shipping and security sources say.  

The attacks person prompted respective companies to halt Red Sea journeys and opt for a longer and much costly way astir Africa, and U.S. and British warplanes person carried retired retaliatory strikes crossed Yemen.  

The Star Iris, a ample panamax bulk carrier, is managed by Athens-headquartered and U.S. NASDAQ-listed Star Bulk Carriers.

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A Star Bulk spokesperson referred questions to nan U.S-led conjugation tasked pinch containing specified attacks.

Iranian officials did not respond to a petition for comment. Iran's nutrient commodities waste and acquisition is exempt from U.S. sanctions.

British maritime information patient Ambrey and nan United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said early connected Monday that a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk bearer had been targeted by missiles successful 2 incidents while passing done nan Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Ambrey said nan bulker had reportedly suffered harm to its  starboard broadside aft sighting a projectile adjacent nan alloy 23 nautical miles (43km) northeast of Djibouti's Khor Angar and 40 nautical miles southwest of Yemen's Red Sea larboard metropolis of Mokha.

Ambrey said nan bulker was reportedly headed to Bandar Imam Khomeini, 1 of Iran's biggest ports and a awesome grains terminal. UKMTO said nan unit were unharmed and nan alloy was proceeding to its adjacent larboard of call.