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European Parliament: release Galaxy Leader crew, including Ukrainians, captured by Houthis

The European Parliament called on the EU to take immediate measures to free the hostages taken by Yemeni Houthis during the attack on the Japanese merchant ship Galaxy Leader, including three Ukrainian citizens.
European Parliament
The European Parliament, illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
European Parliament: release Galaxy Leader crew, including Ukrainians, captured by Houthis

As reported by Ukrinform, the European Parliament has drawn up a resolution concerning the hostage of crew members by Iran-backed Houthi forces, adopted today during a meeting in Strasbourg.

On the 19th of November 2023, armed men dropping from a helicopter seized the cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. The crew is made up of nationals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico and Romania, Galaxy Maritime said. The vessel is chartered by Japan’s Nippon Yusen.

The document was voted in favor by 357 MEPs, against by 20, and 58 abstained.

“The European Parliament… Calls on the EU and its Member States to strengthen and intensify efforts to secure the safe and immediate release of all hostages taken (on board) the Galaxy Leader, including two Bulgarian, one Romanian and three Ukrainian nationals, who have been held by the Houthis since November 19, 2023,” the resolution noted.

In addition, the European Parliament called on the EU High Representative and Member States to step up diplomatic efforts in this context and to engage all relevant parties to ensure the safe return of the captured Europeans without further delay.

The document notes that Iran keeps the Yemeni Houthis under direct control and provides them with substantial military support.

International shipping severely affected

The Houthi attacks against international commercial shipping, in particular in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which have been taking place since October 2023, have severely affected commercial traffic in the Red Sea and posed threats to global economic stability.

As reported, in February 2024, the EU launched the ASPIDES naval mission in the region to maintain shipping safety.

The International Chamber of Shipping has called on the international community to act to secure the immediate release of all 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader, who have been seized by military force and held hostage by the Houthis.

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