The Iranian-backed Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) was responsible for an attack on the Turkish-flagged bulk carrier Ince Inebolu , Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, announced on 21 May.
The ship was carrying wheat from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk to Yemen via Djibouti. It experienced an explosion late on 10 May as it waited to dock at the Salif grain terminal, 60 km north of the main rebel-controlled port of Al-Hudaydah.
Yemen’s Red Sea Ports Corporation released a statement accusing the Saudi-led coalition of targeting the ship with a missile to force it to go to the Saudi port of Jizan.
Col Maliki told a 14 May press conference that the vessel had sailed to Jizan so the explosion could be investigated. He said the initial inspection showed that the blast originated from inside the vessel, creating a hole about 5 m in diameter on its starboard side.
He provided an update in his 21 May press conference, saying no explosive materials were being smuggled aboard the ship, but the crew reported that their radar had detected a boat that approached within 4 n miles and disappeared at the time of the explosion.
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