Houthis ‘hijack’ Israeli-owned car carrier Galaxy Leader
Bahamas-flagged vessel reportedly seized as it transited the Red Sea, with 22 crew on board
Galaxy Leader is owned by Tel Aviv-based Ray Shipping, one of the largest providers of pure car and truck carriers
Yahya Sare’e, who is the spokesperson for the Yemeni armed forces, warned via social media platform X at 1400 hrs GMT on November 19 that “Yemen reiterates the threat against Israeli vessels in the Red Sea”.
The 2002-built vessel’s last signal was at 1136 GMT on November 18, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, with media reports there were 22 crew on board, none from Israel.
Galaxy Leader is owned by Tel Aviv-based Ray Shipping Ltd, which operates a fleet of 65 pure car and truck carriers, according to shipping databases and its website.
The beneficial owners are Rami Ungar and Yael Ungar. According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the company is the one of the world’s largest providers of car carrier tonnage.
The ISM and technical manager was listed as Stamco Ship Management Company Limited, in Greece, with the registered owner Galaxy Maritime Inc incorporated in the Isle of Man.
A call to Stamco’s office in Piraeus was not answered.
This is not the first time that vessels owned by Ray Shipping have been targeted while transiting the Middle East Gulf and Red Sea region.
Iran has attacked two Ray Shipping-owned vessels firing a missile at the Hyperion Ray (IMO: 9690559) on April 13, 2021, and was said to be responsible for an explosion to the Helios Ray (IMO: 9690547) on February 25 earlier that year.
The Houthi spokesperson said all ships connected to Israel would be attacked as a result of Israel’s actions in Gaza, and asked countries to withdraw nationals working on these vessels.