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Red Sea Crisis

Industry united in call to free Galaxy Leader crew held hostage for 3 months

Photo: Screenshot from X Hijack of the Galaxy Leader
The shipping industry has united in calling for the immediate release of 25 seafarers on board the Galaxy Leader held hostage by Houthi Rebels for three months now.

Monday 19 February marks the three-month anniversary of the hijacking of the car carrier Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea and some 29 industry organisations have come together to call for release of the seafarers held captive on board.

The industry representative bodies described the 25 seafarers of the Galaxy Leader as “innocent victims of the ongoing aggression against world shipping”.

“All efforts must be made by international organisations and States to secure the release of the seafarers,” the statement read.

 “It is abhorrent that seafarers were seized by military forces and that they have been kept from their families and loved ones for too long. All 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader must be released now”.

The hijacking of the Ray Car Carriers Ltd owned, NYK-chartered Galaxy Leader on 19 November 2023 in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels sent shockwaves through the shipping industry.

The Houthi said they had hijacked the vessel as it was Israeli-linked in retaliation for the Israeli conflict against Hamas in Gaza. Houthi rebels vowed to continue striking at Israeli-linked or Israel-bound vessels as long as the conflict in Gaza continued.

Listen the latest episode of the Seatrade Maritime Podcast on Geopolitics, trade and the Red Sea Crisis

Over the past three months more than 50 vessels have been attacked with missiles or drones while transiting the Red Sea in increasingly indiscriminate strikes. The result has been around 80% of container shipping diverting from transiting the Red Sea and Suez Canal to the much longer route via the Cape of Good of Hope adding 10 – 14 days to Asia – Europe/Med voyages. Tankers and dry bulk vessels have increasingly followed suit, although owners have faced pressure from charterers to continue using the Red Sea.

Despite military action against the Houthi in Yemen by the US and UK supported by their allies attacks against commercial shipping continued at the end of last week.

Meanwhile the 25 seafarers on board the Galaxy Leader remain held hostage three months on.

The statement was signed by the Asian Association of Shipowners, ANAVE, The Bahamas Shipowners Association, Bimco, Chamber of Marine Commerce, Chamber of Shipping America, Confitarma, CLIA, Cyprus Chamber of Shipping, Danish Shipping, ECSA, FONSABA, IFSMA, Intermanager, IAPH, ICS, International Christian Maritime Association, IMCA, IMEC, IPTA, ITF, JSA, Liberian Shipowners Council, Norwegian Shipowners Association, Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners, Swiss Shipowners Association, The Seaman’s Church Institute, UK Chamber of Shipping, and WSC.