A YEMENI militia with connections to Iran has hijacked a ship transiting the Red Sea.

Ro-ro vessel Galaxy Leader (IMO 9237307) was sailing from Türkiye to India when members of the Houthi militia hijacked the vessel, according to media reports. There were 25 crewmembers aboard the Bahamian-flagged vessel.

The Houthis control most of western Yemen including the capital Sana’a and much of the country’s Red Sea coast.

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sare’e wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that “Yemeni Naval Forces managed to capture an Israeli ship” in the Red Sea and took it to the Yemeni coast.

Militia members are reported to have descended onto the ship from a helicopter.

“The Yemeni armed forces deal with the ship’s crew in accordance with the principle and values of our Islamic religion,” Mr Sare’e wrote.

Galaxy Leader is operated by Japan’s NYK, who told Reuters it was gathering more information on the safety of the crew, who are from the Philippines, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Mexico.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X that Israel “strongly condemns the Iranian attack” against an international vessel.

“The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.”

Israeli Defence Forces wrote that the ship was partially owned by an Israeli company, and later that it was “not an Israeli ship”.

“The hijacking of the cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very serious event on a global level,” the IDF wrote on X.

“This is a ship that left Turkey on its way to India with an international civilian crew, without Israelis.”

Prior to the hijacking, on 16 November, the International Maritime Security Construct issued an advisory highlighting “a heightened threat level” in the Red Sea.

IMSC recommended mariners distance themselves from Yemeni waters, transit at night when possible and communicate movements ahead of time.