Greek-owned Tutor believed to have sunk a week after Houthi missile attack

The crew abandoned the coal carrier after it was struck by Houthi missiles, which started a fire, on June 12.

The Tutor's crew getting out of a helicopter on the Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group after they were rescued by the US military
The crew of the Tutor were rescued by the US military after the Houthi attack last week [US Naval Forces Central Command/US 5th Fleet via Reuters]

The Greek-owned Tutor, a coal carrier, has reportedly sunk in the Red Sea a week after it came under attack from Yemen’s Houthis.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which monitors and tracks commercial shipping for owners and the military in the crucial waterway, said in an update on Tuesday that debris and oil had been sighted around the vessel’s last known location.

“The vessel is believed to have sunk in position 14″19’N 041″14’E,” UKMTO said, advising other ships to maintain caution in the area.

The Tutor was struck by missiles and an explosive-laden remote-controlled boat on June 12 off the Red Sea port of Hodeidah and had been taking on water, according to previous reports from UKMTO, the Houthis and other sources.

One crew member, believed to have been in the engine room at the time of the attacks, remains missing.

If confirmed, the Tutor would be the second ship sunk by the Houthis after the UK-owned Rubymar, which was carrying more than 41,000 tonnes of fertiliser, went down on March 2 about two weeks after being struck by Houthi missiles.

The Houthis, who are locked in a war with a Saudi Arabian-led coalition after removing Yemen’s internationally-recognised government from Sanaa in 2014, have been attacking vessels with alleged Israeli links in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023. They say the action is in solidarity with the Palestinians over Israel’s war on Gaza, in which at least 37,372 people have been killed.

Last week. the Houthis also seriously damaged the Palau-flagged Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated Verbena, which was loaded with timbre and on its way from Malaysia to Italy.

The Verbena’s crew abandoned the ship when they were unable to contain the fire sparked by the attacks, and it is now drifting in the Gulf of Aden and vulnerable to sinking or further assaults.

Since November, the Houthis have also seized another vessel and killed three merchant sailors in separate attacks.

The attacks have disrupted global trade as ship owners reroute their vessels away from the Suez Canal to longer routes around Africa’s southern tip, adding as many as 3,500 nautical miles (6,500km) to the journey.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters