German Cargo Ship Fired Upon in Red Sea – Crew Survive Unhurt

A cargo ship belonging to the German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has been fired upon and damaged in the Red Sea, a spokesman for the Hamburg-based firm told dpa on Friday.

There were no injuries to the crew of the al-Jasrah freighter, the spokesman said.

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The freighter had travelled through the Suez Canal from Piraeus in Greece and was heading for Singapore when it was shelled.

A fire broke out on board, according to media reports, but the ship was able to continue its journey.

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian extremist movement Hamas, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have repeatedly attacked Israel with drones and missiles.

They also threatened to prevent Israel-bound ships of any nationality from passing through the Red Sea.

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Only freighters delivering aid to the Gaza Strip would be allowed to pass through, all other vessels were “legitimate targets,” according to the rebels.

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As recently as Thursday, German shipowners warned that vessels needed protection in the light of Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Martin Kröger, managing director of the German Shipowners’ Association (VDR), called for action to ensure “that civilian merchant shipping and in particular the seafarers on our merchant ships are not drawn into the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which the Houthis cite as the reason for the attacks.”

With some 1,800 ships, the German merchant fleet is the seventh largest in the world.

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