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Cargo ship operated by Japanese firm seized in Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi group

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Japanese Ship, British Company, other countries' crew, Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi thugs in the Red Sea. Am I missing something? What does this have to do with Israel? What's the connection?

13 ( +18 / -5 )

jeffb Today  06:48 am JST

wondered the same.....

7 ( +11 / -4 )

A cargo ship operated by a Japanese company has been seized in the Red Sea

Let's see how J Govt that already low in the Japanese public pools, handling this crisis.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Japanese Ship, British Company, other countries' crew, Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi thugs in the Red Sea. Am I missing something? What does this have to do with Israel? What's the connection?

Israel, who have a port on the Red Sea, would likely be monitoring hostile forces in the area.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@obladi, that answers why this would have been reported in the Jerusalem Post and why, in that publication, the reference to Israel citizens not being aboard would be relevant. Wouldn't it be more relevant in a Japan based publication to indicate the safety of Japanese citizens especially given the nationality of the ship operator?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How is that diplomacy with Iran working out for you?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I am afraid terrorism will rise.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

An AP article elsewhere gives more insight on the Israeli connection:

"Israeli officials insisted the ship was British-owned and Japanese-operated. However, ownership details in public shipping databases associated the ship’s owners with Ray Car Carriers, which was founded by Abraham “Rami” Ungar, who is known as one of the richest men in Israel.

Ungar told The Associated Press he was aware of the incident but couldn’t comment as he awaited details. A ship linked to him experienced an explosion in 2021 in the Gulf of Oman. Israeli media blamed it on Iran at the time.

The complex world of international shipping often involves a series of management companies, flags and owners stretching across the globe in a single vessel."

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15061589

13 ( +14 / -1 )

@divinda, that's an interesting albeit tenuous relationship but nonetheless a detail that helps connect the dots.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I’m so glad I left that exact part of the world this month.

Hello Okinawa :)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Associated press is reporting a bit different story about ship linkage.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pay the ransome and the Houtis will let the ship go. Sure those bandits know this us not an israeli ship, they know this is a Japanese ship, they just want cash!

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

"NYK line",sure this is a Japanese company. Common sense of basic knowledge for the pirates and bandits !

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

"NYK line",sure this is a Japanese company. Common sense of basic knowledge for the pirates and bandits !

NYK Line is not the ships owner. They are leasing the ship from its owners, Ray Car Carriers Ltd, main office in Douglas Isle of Man, but owned by a wealthy Israeli family. The ship is flagged in the Bahamas. Ray Car Carriers Ltd owns a fleet of such ships leased out to half a dozen large ocean lines and car companies.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

JA editors, thank you for updating the article to give some relevance to Israel. The jist being that the Houthi are targeting Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea on behalf of Palestine.

The AP article is far superior in it's explanation of this event so anyone looking for actual context would be better informed by that reporting.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

WHAT WAS THE CARGO?

WHAT THIS SHIP was CARRYING?

Based on what I can find on maritime websites it was carrying cars and trucks from Korfez, Turkiye to Pipavav, India.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yemen is the victim here.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I’ve never heard of any company or crew that is run by a Japanese company not to have a Japanese crew member. There seems to be so much missing from this story. And what about the crew? No mention on their safe release and return. Just the ship is important? This is just a pirate act.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Most of the seamen in the Japanese merchant navy are from the Philippines. There are Japanese training colleges there. The captains are also often from the  Philippines.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

 What does this have to do with Israel? What's the connection?

If it is a Japanese vessel, I assume Japan would know about it, without being told by Israel? So, the connection is... making Japan pro-Israel, and anti-Iran.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

リッチ

I’ve never heard of any company or crew that is run by a Japanese company not to have a Japanese crew member.

To the contrary. A Japanese crew on a vessel like this would be the exception, not the rule.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I’ve never heard of any company or crew that is run by a Japanese company not to have a Japanese crew member.

Most Japanese shipping lines that are operating internationally will be structured like this.

Usually only domestic shipping (Japanese flagged vessels) will have Japanese crew.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I said before when the same thing was happening with the Somali pirates, arm the crew and double the watch in the Red Sea. Otherwise, have a Japanese Navy gunboat on duty in the Red Sea for, say, six months at a time until this Middle-Eastern nonsense stops.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Larr Flint

WHAT WAS THE CARGO? 

WHAT THIS SHIP was CARRYING?

then you will get your answer why it was taken by Iranians. 

Of course the ship will be released after the CARGO will be looted.

Desert Tortoise

Based on what I can find on maritime websites it was carrying cars and trucks from Korfez, Turkiye to Pipavav, India.

No cargo was on the vessel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Send the navy back to protect and escort Japanese ships.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The strangest aspect of this is the connection to Israel. An Israeli billionaire started the company that owns the ship. But that's it. Was that the connection the Houthi made? It didn't depart Israel, it didn't have Israel crew or cargo, it wasn't being operated by an Israeli firm. What did they think they were accomplishing "on behalf of Palestine?" This particular boat heist smells extra fishy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Send the Navy back to protect and escort Japanese ships"? Which Navy were you referring to? Japan's Navy does not operate in that sector of the world, so I was just curious as to whose lives you want to put in harm's way.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Japanese self-defense navy ships went to Somalia when there was a problem with pirates.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

jeffbToday  06:48 am JST

Japanese Ship, British Company, other countries' crew, Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi thugs in the Red Sea. Am I missing something? What does this have to do with Israel? What's the connection?

I am also wondering what Israel has to do with this. I guess these people like to poke their noses in everything and play the blame game by blaming either Hamas or anyone supporting Palestine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I’ve never heard of any company or crew that is run by a Japanese company not to have a Japanese crew member. There seems to be so much missing from this story. And what about the crew? No mention on their safe release and return. Just the ship is important? This is just a pirate act.

NYK is leasing the ship. They neither own or operate it. This is common in the maritime world. A ship owner will lease their ship out to a customer who books the cargos the ship carries. The owner will hire a separate management company to operate the ship, hire crew members, pay them and arrange their transportation to and from home to whatever port the crew transfer occurs in. The ship owner will also find a nation to register the ship in that offers preferential taxation, such as the Bahamas, Panama and Liberia.

If you look at it from the point of view of the lessor NYK, they avoid all liability for how the ship is operated. Their job is to book cargos, take payment for the shipments and pay the owner for use of his or her ship. The owner pays the company they hire to operate the ship along with Classification Society dues and multiple forms of insurance. This way if the ship goes aground somewhere NYK ends up being one of the aggrieved parties able to sue the owner and the operating company for their loss rather than being the party that is sued for the loss.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it is a Japanese vessel, I assume Japan would know about it, without being told by Israel? So, the connection is... making Japan pro-Israel, and anti-Iran.

The ship was built in Poland for its owner Ray Car Carriers Ltd. They commissioned the ship's construction and are its only owner. Ray Car Carriers has dozens of such ships. They lease them out to a half dozen different shipping lines and automobile manufactures to use to haul their cargos. In this case the ship was leased out to NYK. Other ships in the Ray Car Carrier fleet are leased out to  Mitsui OSK Line, K-Line, EUKOR, Hyundai-Glovis, China Shipping Group, Wallenius-Wilhelmsen and Hoegh Autoliners. Their ships are built in Gdynia Shipyard Poland, Uljanik Shipyard Croatia, Ha Long Shipyard Vietnam and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard South Korea.

Ray Car Carriers also manage their own ships, which is rare in the maritime industry. Typically a ship owner hires an outside firm that specializes in ship management for that job. Ray keeps it in house which is unusual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Btw, Ray Car Carries is officially a UK firm with headquarters on the Isle of Man. It is owned by a wealthy Israeli family, which is why it became a target of the Houthis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://www.raycarcarriers.com/index.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese Ship, British Company, other countries' crew, Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi thugs in the Red Sea. Am I missing something? What does this have to do with Israel? What's the connection?

No, it is a Polish built, Bahamas registered ship owned and managed by a UK based company, a company that is in turn owned by a wealthy Israeli family. That UK based company leases the ship to NKY under a long term contract.

I am also wondering what Israel has to do with this. I guess these people like to poke their noses in everything and play the blame game by blaming either Hamas or anyone supporting Palestine.

Wealthy Israelis own the company that own the ship. Houthis have attacked other Ray Car Carriers ships in the past. They have also attacked ships leased to Zim, an Israeli based shipping line even though the ships themselves are leased and not owned by Zim.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise,

Thank you for the details. What else can you tell us about this story?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Send the Navy back to protect and escort Japanese ships"? Which Navy were you referring to? Japan's Navy does not operate in that sector of the world, so I was just curious as to whose lives you want to put in harm's way.

Japan has a base in Djibouti, on the northeast corner of Djibouti International Airport. If you look carefully on Google Earth you can often see a JMSDF P-3 or P-1 on the apron outside their hanger. The JMSDF operates regularly from the port though they don't have a dedicated facility at the port like the Chinese do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Send the navy back to protect and escort Japanese ships.

Because the ship is registered in the Bahamas and flies the Bahamas flag under maritime law the Bahamas Navy would be the appropriate force to provide an escort. Good luck with that! This is one of the perils of registering your ship in one of the flag of convenience states like Bahamas, Panama, Liberia or Marshall Islands. None of those nations have the means to protect their vast fleets of merchant ships. But since the ship is owned an operated by company incorporated in the UK then the Royal Navy might be able to claim jurisdiction. The Royal Navy using their Marines or the Special Boat Service would have the means to take the ship back if it comes to that. Interestingly under usual maritime law the IDF would have no justification to intervene. The fact that the owner is a company registered in UK and the ship is registered in the Bahamas pretty much cuts them out of the picture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, as my DI in Aviation Officer Candidate School would have said, "no boy, your other left!" I meant the JSDF base is on the northwest corner of Djibouti International Airport. Sorry for any time you wasted on a futile Google Earth search.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DT

AOCS? What class? I was 03-98. Pensacola.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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