Saudi-led coalition struggles in Yemen said Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels abducted a ship south of the Red Sea Houthis seized the ship as it hauled a South Korean oil rig Sunday.
Al-Malki said the "attack" threatened vital shipping routes in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, from which oil was shipped off the Gulf to Europe as well as goods from Asia to Europe.
"On Sunday, while sailing the tugboat Rabigh-3 in the southern Red Sea, he was abducted and terrorized by the Houthi militia," al-Maliki said.
He did not say to which country the tugboat belonged or how many crew members were aboard the confiscated ship.
According to the Marine Traffic tracking website, Rabigh-3's home port is in the West Saudi city of Jeddah and it sails under the flag of the Kingdom.
& # 39; Countries of Aggression & # 39;
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a high-ranking rebel official, said: "Yemeni Coastguards … check whether [the vessel] is released to the countries of aggression or to South Korea, in which case it will be after completion of the legal proceedings We assure everyone not to worry about the occupation. "
Mohammed al-Attab from Al Jazeera reported from the capital, Sana'a, that South Korea had demanded the release of his rigging and crew.
"Houthis said they would release it after completing paperwork to confirm that this rig is part of South Korea." The source told me that seizure is a common measure they perform when engaging in a foreign operation Find a ship in the waters of Yemen, "he said.
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The Houthis In the past, it was oil tankers and military ships that belonged to Saudi Arabia and its partners in the military coalition that has been fighting in Yemen's war since 2015.
In a meeting with the South Korean Ambassador to Yemen, Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadrami strongly condemned the seizure of the ship and called for his immediate release, according to a government statement.
"These provocative and illegal actions will negatively affect the freedom of international shipping," he said.
"A Serious Problem"  Gerry Northwood – from the International Maritime Security Company MAST – said the seizure of ships by the rebels showed their strength in the "insurrection war", in particular their ability to operate in the maritime domain ,
"The Houthis have proven in the last few years during the war that they are capable of doing and disturbing things, be it rocket attacks, laying mines or in this case taking a ship. " The The fact that the Saudis can not always protect ships in this area is a serious problem for them, "Northwood told Al Jazeera.
The alliance led by Saudi Arabia intervened against the Houthis in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthi forces were displaced by most of Yemen's shores during the conflict, but still hold Hodeidah, the country's largest port on the Red Sea and naval base
The rebels have in the past attacked ships off Yemen, which is on one side of Bab al-Mandeb Strait at the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most common sailed oil tanker routes the world.  SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Al Jazeera and news agencies