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Ship in Red Sea Signals All-Muslim Crew to Avoid Houthi Attack

Ship in Red Sea Signals All-Muslim Crew to Avoid Houthi Attack
Patrick Sykes, February 12, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Commercial ships in the Red Sea are getting more creative in their efforts to avoid attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants.

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Livestock carrier Cattle Force appealed to the Houthis as co-religionists in an apparent bid to ensure safe passage. On Sunday, as it approached the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen’s coast, it changed its destination signal — something widely available on the internet for most vessels — from an Iraqi port to: “All Crew Muslims.”

Houthis Say They Targeted ‘Star Iris’ Ship in Red Sea

Once safely through the strait on Monday morning, it switched back to Iraq’s Umm Qasr, according to tracking data analyzed by Bloomberg.

The change was an apparent message to the Houthis, who say they’re targeting ships linked to Israel and its allies to pressure them over the war in Gaza.

The Houthi campaign has upended global shipping and pushed up transport costs as ships face detours and extra fees for insurance and security.

Commercial ships previously signaled destinations like “No Relation to Israel” to avoid targeting by the Iran-backed militia.

Togo-flagged Cattle Force is sanctioned by the US due to its owner, UAE-based Swedish Management, which the US alleges is involved in Iran’s oil and petrochemical exports. Swedish Management’s website didn’t work as of Monday.