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Turkish-captained tanker rescued 15 hours after being hijacked off coast of Yemen

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A tanker and its crew, including two Turkish officers, have been rescued 15 hours after losing communications in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen, Turkey’s Maritime General Directorate said.

The directorate on Sunday reported on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Central Park tanker, owned by Israeli company Zodiac Maritime, had lost communications in the morning hours and was believed to have been hijacked while sailing in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen.

In another announcement on X 15 hours later, the directorate confirmed the safety of the tanker, including Turkish crew members Captain Aydın Hasırcı and 4th Officer Okan Yüksel, citing its Main Search and Rescue Coordination Center (AAKKM).

According to Zodiac Maritime, the ship has a crew of 22 and is carrying phosphoric acid.

The Guardian newspaper reported the details of the rescue operation on Monday and said a US warship, the USS Mason, rescued the tanker that had been attacked by “armed individuals.”

US Central Command did not say who the attackers were, describing them as an “unknown entity.” However, it added that two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the “general location” of the two ships as the Mason was “concluding its response” to a distress call from the tanker. The missiles landed about 10 nautical miles away, it said.

The Gulf of Aden, not normally seen as seas controlled by the Houthis, is connected to the Red Sea via the Bab el-Mandeb strait.

The tanker sailed from the Moroccan port of Safi and passed through the Suez Canal on Nov. 22.

The incident is the latest in a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas broke out on Oct. 7.

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