RECAP: M/V Central Park Hijacking Attempt

RECAP: M/V Central Park Hijacking Attempt


UPDATE (1211 EST): Pentagon identifies gunmen involved as Somali and not Houthi, calls incident “piracy related.”

(0700 EST) On November 26, the Liberian-flagged tanker M/V Central Park was approached and boarded by gunmen off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.

The Central Park is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a U.K.-based company with ties to the billionaire Israeli Ofer family. The Houthis have previously pledged to target any Israeli owned or operated vessels in the waters around Yemen.

Last week, the Houthis hijacked and seized the RoRo Galaxy Leader, which also has ties to Israel. The vessel and its crew was brought to Yemen, where it remains.

As the gunmen boarded, the crew of the Central Park barricaded themselves in the vessel’s “citadel,” which is an armored room outfitted with supplies and communication equipment that is inaccessible from the outside in the event a ship is taken over, according to USNI.

Meanwhile, the crew sent out a distress signal, which was received by the United States Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mason and other vessels of the international counter-piracy coalition, Task Force 151.

According to Fox News Chief National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin, citing a senior U.S. official, a Japanese destroyer aided the U.S. vessel while two nearby Chinese destroyers refused to provide aid. The Chinese vessels were likely part of the 45th Naval Escort Task Force which is currently charged with protecting the Gulf of Aden and approaches to the Chinese naval base in Djibouti.

Unable to take control of the Central Park as the task force arrived, the gunmen attempted to flee the area on a small boat.

The small boat was pursued by the crew of the USS Mason and the gunmen were captured following their surrender to the Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) team. The gunmen were taken onboard the USS Mason for interrogation.

The crew of the Central Park were released unharmed.

On November 27, at approximately 0141 local time, two ballistic missiles were “fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen toward the general location of the USS MASON (DDG 87) and M/V CENTRAL PARK,” according to CENTCOM.

The missiles, however, fell short and “landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately ten nautical miles from the ships.” There were no reports of damage or injuries from the launches.

So far the Houthis have not made any official statements about the incident.

Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.
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