First fatality: Yemeni forces attack on bulk carrier transiting Gulf of Aden kills three mariners, US military confirms

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed that a missile attack by Yemen’s Armed Forces on a merchant ship transiting the Gulf of Aden has left at least three seafarers dead, the first fatalities since the Arab country launched retaliatory attacks on vessels in the area.

CENTCOM said in a statement on Wednesday that the fatalities occurred after the Barbados-flagged ship True Confidence, a Liberian-owned bulk carrier, was set ablaze approximately 50 nautical miles (93km) off the coast of Yemen’s port of Aden.

It also reported at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition, as well as “significant damage to the ship” following the strike.

Earlier, a shipping source said three crew members were missing from the bulk carrier True Confidence and four others had been badly burned following an attack on the vessel, which initial reports identified as a US-owned one.

A US defense official also said smoke was seen coming from True Confidence, adding that a lifeboat had also been seen in the water near the ship.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency also said it had received a report of the incident, adding that the vessel had been abandoned by the crew and was “no longer under command.”

The Yemeni armed forces claimed responsibility for attack and said the operation came after the ship’s crew rejected warning messages from the Yemeni naval forces.

The forces also urged all ships sailing through the region to respond to calls by Yemeni naval forces.

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