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This Video Does Not Show an American Ship Targeted By The Houthis

Ahmed Sabry Ahmed Sabry
12th June 2024
This Video Does Not Show an American Ship Targeted By The Houthis
The video is unrelated to the recent Houthi attacks (X)

The Claim

Yemen hits another American ship.

Emerging story

Recently, social media users have been circulating a video claiming to show a fire breaking out on a U.S. ship targeted by the Houthis in Yemen recently.

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating video and found the claim to be misleading.

Fire Incident on Container Ship in Colombo On May 2021

Misbar's team found that the video actually dates back to May 2021 when a fire broke out on a container ship docked near the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A screenshot of a video

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Chemical Cargo Ship Fire Causes Environmental Disaster In Sri Lanka

As reported by The Guardian, a cargo ship carrying chemicals caught fire off the coast, leading to the release of microplastics onto Sri Lanka's pristine beaches. Although the 25-member crew was evacuated, firefighting operations have been hindered by monsoon winds and the highly flammable and toxic cargo. The ship was transporting 25 tons of nitric acid, sodium hydroxide, and other dangerous chemicals, along with 28 containers of raw materials for plastic bags production. It also carried over 300 tons of fuel.

While officials have stated that the most severe part of the fire has been contained, explosions were still occurring, and smoke and small flames were visible from the vessel, which is anchored nine miles off the capital, Colombo.

The fire on the MV X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-registered vessel, started on May 20 and has continued since then. Efforts to extinguish the flames by the Sri Lankan navy and Indian coast guard have been ongoing for over 10 days.

A ship on the water

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Yemen's Houthi Militants Launch Attacks On Shipping

Claims began circulating after the Iran-allied Houthi group in Yemen announced launching attacks on three ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. However, shipping giant Maersk refuted the militants' assertion that one of their vessels was among the targets.

Controlling significant parts of Yemen's population, the Houthis have been targeting ships in the area for months, citing solidarity with Palestinians amid the conflict with Israel in Gaza. Military spokesperson Yahya Saree stated in a televised address on Wednesday that the movement used missiles and drones against two ships, the Roza and Vantage Dream, in the Red Sea. However, Saree did not specify the timing of the attacks.

Additionally, Saree mentioned their group's use of drones against the U.S. vessel Maersk Seletar in the Arabian Sea, providing no further details.

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Houthi Detention Of U.N. Staff

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has announced that Yemen's Houthi group has detained at least 11 United Nations staff members, urging their unconditional release. Dujarric stated that the U.N. is seeking clarification from the Houthis regarding the reasons for the detention of the Yemeni employees, who include two women and nine men working for various U.N. agencies and the U.N. envoy for Yemen.

"We’re pursuing all available channels to secure the safe and unconditional release of all of them as rapidly as possible," said Dujarric, emphasizing the U.N.'s efforts to ensure access to the detained staff.

Additionally, armed Houthi intelligence officers reportedly detained three employees of the U.S.-funded pro-democracy group National Democratic Institute (NDI) and three employees of a local human rights organization in a series of raids. Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned these detentions, warning that the Houthi group's failure to disclose the whereabouts of the detained individuals could constitute enforced disappearance under international law.

Niku Jafarnia, Yemen and Bahrain researcher at HRW, called for the immediate release of all detained U.N. employees and workers from other independent organizations, urging the Houthi group to halt arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances.

A screenshot of a social media post

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