On 19 November Houthi fighters hijacked the Galaxy Leader and took its crew hostage. Since then multiple cargo ships in the Red Sea and the Bab El-Mandab Strait have been attacked.
A large proportion of the world’s trade passes through the Red Sea and the diversion of shipping routes could lead to an increase in prices of manufactured goods and food heightening the cost of living crisis.
UNISON stands in solidarity with the International Transport Workers Federation and its affiliates, including Nautilus International, whose members have come under attack.
We welcome the ITF’s role in securing additional pay and benefits for affected crew. We note the call of ITF for governments to guarantee security for shipping in the area and ensure the release of seafarers who have been taken hostage. The United Nations Security Council has also condemned the attacks and called for them to cease.
UNISON calls for the release of the hostages from the Galaxy Leader, an end to the attacks on shipping and for the safety of seafarers. We urge all parties to act with restraint and avoid any escalation that risks a wider regional conflict or exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.