Houthi Militia Seizes Israeli-Owned Cargo Ship in Red Sea, Raising Global Concerns

Posted on Nov 19, 2023 by Ifi Reporter

In a development labeled as "a very serious event on a global scale" by the IDF spokesman, the Houthi militia has seized control of the cargo ship GALAXY LEADER in the Red Sea. The ship, owned by Israeli businessman Rami Unger and operated by RAY CAR CARRIERS, was en route to India, carrying thousands of cars.

The GALAXY LEADER, a Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO) vessel designed for car transportation, is registered in Nassau but operates under the management of RAY CAR CARRIERS—one of the world's largest vehicle transportation companies. The company, owned by Rami Unger, is known for importing Kia vehicles to Israel.

The ship's route map indicates its journey to India, but it fell prey to the Houthi militia's takeover in the Red Sea. The vessel had 22 non-Israeli crew members on board, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reportedly aware of the situation.

Rami Unger has previously been a target of attacks by Iran and its proxies, but this incident marks a new and potentially costly development. The concern is not solely about Israeli ownership, but the broader implications of a hijacking involving a ship transporting cars worth hundreds of millions of dollars, especially when destined for Israel.

Reports suggest that the Houthis' interest was focused on the identity of the non-Israeli crew members. However, the incident raises concerns about the security of shipping routes to Israel and the potential impact on the automotive industry. In recent weeks, sources in the industry have reported increased prices in marine transportation insurance for vehicles destined for Israel.

The escalating tensions have prompted some ships to reroute from the Ashdod port to Haifa, fearing rocket attacks. The hijacking of a ship carrying cars to Israel could further drive insurance rates up, potentially affecting consumers. This development has the automotive industry on edge, with fears that such incidents could lead to a surge in insurance prices for future shipments.

While December is expected to be relatively calm in terms of ship arrivals to Israel due to the war's impact on vehicle orders, concerns linger about the potential for increased insurance costs in the coming year given the current security situation. The industry is closely watching how events unfold and the potential repercussions on the transportation and insurance landscape.


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