Seven Pakistani sailors feared dead in Yemen airstrike

Published: December 23, 2016

KARACHI: One Pakistani sailor was killed while six others are feared dead when an unidentified fighter jet reportedly hit their ship in Yemeni waters, human rights activist Ansar Burney told The Express Tribune on Thursday.

Motor vessel ‘Jouya 8’, a general cargo ship registered in Iran, was reportedly targeted off the Hodeidah coast when it was travelling from Dubai to Egypt. A crew of eight, all of Pakistani origin, were onboard under the command of Captain Syed Anisur Rehman.

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“One sailor, identified as Kabir Khadim, survived somehow by jumping off the ship and swimming to the Hodeidah port,” Burney said, adding that he was hospitalised and is being given medical care in the same city.

Khadim is said to be a radio officer. In a video shared by the human rights activist, he is seen as narrating the incident to someone on phone. He says that a missile from a jet hit their ship after which it sank.

He says another sailor Suhail Ahmed’s body is also at the same hospital. However, Khadim  in unsure about the fate of the rest of the crew. “I want to go home,” he says, asking the Pakistan Embassy in Yemen to make arrangements for him.

The date of the incident is not yet clear as the lone survivor, according to Burney, is in trauma and cannot recall how, where and when did this happen. According to Yemen’s state-owned Saba news agency, a boat carrying 12 Pakistani sailors was hit in a Saudi air raid off Mukha coast in the Yemeni province of Taez on December 4. In this incident, six sailors were killed while as many others were still unaccounted for, the news agency reported.

There is a tension under way between Saudi government and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Hodeidah city is said to be under the influence of Houthi militia.

Burney said since the incident was reported to him through his sources, he requested the Saudi, Iranian, Turkish and Russian governments to help find the missing sailors. He also appealed to Pakistan’s prime minister, army chief, and the naval chief to take notice of the matter and ascertain e facts.

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Meanwhile, no independent confirmation of the incident could be made.

The size of the ‘Jouya 8’ is said to be 57 metres in length and 10 metres in width, according to its available information on the internet with maritime dedicated websites. According to a sailor, Syed Aun Zaidi, a crew of maximum 12 to 15 people is usually hired for this size of ships. The Express Tribune tried to contact the Karachi Port Trust spokesperson to seek details of the incident. However, he did not respond.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • salman
    Dec 23, 2016 - 9:24AM

    What was the ship doing at war zone ?Recommend

  • Lolz
    Dec 23, 2016 - 9:30AM

    Only Saudi led coalition has the jets to carry out air strikes and the officials are still unsure who hit the Pakistani ship! Recommend

  • Waqas
    Dec 23, 2016 - 11:15AM

    I read this news a week ago in an Arabic newspaper. Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 23, 2016 - 12:05PM

    The ship was en-route to Egypt from Dubai, it was not docked at any Yemeni port. Probably targeted because it was Iranian registered ship.

    Surprising thing is that the news has been kept silent!!! Certainly the Pakistani embassy in Yemen would have been informed and concerned authorities in Pakistan would have known about it.

    Such is the power of the Saudi’s to silent everyone!!Recommend

  • Disgusted
    Dec 23, 2016 - 12:52PM

    So Saudis are busy killing yet more civilians..
    this time poor Pakistani sailors.Recommend

  • Salman Hasan
    Dec 23, 2016 - 1:23PM

    Pakistan should protest against Saudi airstrike on non-battle cargo ship. This is unacceptable and if this happens again, Pakistan should retaliate against the Saudis diplomatically. The innocent dead should be compensated. Recommend

  • Libra
    Dec 23, 2016 - 3:03PM

    Saudis are Arab and they treat all other Asians including Muslims third grade people. If these seven persons would have been Americans or Europeans, this could have been viewed with entirely a different angle. Recommend

  • curious2
    Dec 23, 2016 - 6:24PM

    Iranian ships have been providing weapons to Houthi rebels for a long time and are considered legitimate targets by the Saudi’s. It’s unfortunate that Pakistani’s were on this ship – it’s not surprising that this ship was targeted by the Saudi’s. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Dec 23, 2016 - 7:44PM

    Arab cannot be blamed for non-Arab conversion. Many asians Muslims follow Hindunised Islam. A Muslims should see this as done by God not by Saudis or Arabs.Recommend

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