Photo Credit: Houthi Military Spokesman / Abu Ali Express
Houthi terrorists hijack the UAE vessel "Rawabi" on Jan. 3, 2022

An Israeli-owned oil tanker, the “Central Park,” was hijacked Sunday off the coast of Yemen, southwest of the port city of Aden, the maritime security firm Ambrey reported.

The Central Park sails under the flag of Liberia and is owned by UK-headquartered Zodiac Maritime firm, which is headed by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.


“At approximately 0644 EST, Houthi-linked Telegram pages began reporting a tanker seizure and attack off the coast of Yemen. By 0726 EST, the UK Maritime Trade Operations authority announced an incident was underway,” Atlas News reported.

The first advisory was broadcast at around 7:26 am EST.

“UKMTO has received a report of two black and white craft carrying 8 persons in military style clothing approaching a MV to 0.5nm, one small craft on each quarter . . . Master reports vessel and all crew safe. Vessels in the vicinity are advised to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO,” read the advisory from the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations organization.

Barely five minutes later, the Ambrey security firm reported that US Naval forces were also “engaged in the situation.”

Ambrey reported that Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had threatened to attack the tanker if it did not divert to the port of Hodeida, slightly north of Al Hudaydah, one of Yemen’s main ports on its Red Sea coast. The security firm added that communications were intercepted from a US coalition warship, warning the Central Park to disregard the messages.

It’s not yet clear what being “engaged” involved.

An Israeli-owned cargo ship was damaged in an Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drone attack in the Indian Ocean this past Friday. One week ago, an Israel-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea was also hijacked by the Houthis.

The Houthis have fired numerous long-range missiles and combat drones at Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat, in solidarity with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization — also backed by Iran — which launched a war against the Jewish State on October 7.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.