A ship owned by Isle of Man company Ray Car Carriers Ltd has been seized by the Houthi terrorist group in the southern Red Sea, according to reports from Reuters and others. Early reports indicate that approximately 25 crew members have been taken hostage.

The ‘Galaxy Leader’ was reportedly seized by the Iranian-linked terror group when it was en route to India.

The ship was being operated by Nippon Yusen, under a Bahamian registration, and was owned by Manx company Ray Car Carriers Ltd, which is part of a larger Israeli corporate group associated with Abraham “Rami” Ungar.

Neither the vessel, nor the 25 members of the crew, nor the operators of the ship, were Israeli. It is unclear whether any Manx or British personnel were on board the ship at the time of the terrorist attack, although some reports indicate that the crew are from various eastern European nations, the Philippines, and Mexico. Differing online sources have identified some members of the crew as being from different nations.

Israel and Japan condemns hijacking

A press release from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office condemned the attack, accusing Iran of guiding the Houthi militia:

The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.

Onboard the vessel are 25 crew members of various nationalities including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican.

No Israelis are onboard.

This is another act of Iranian terrorism and constitutes a leap forward in Iran’s aggression against the citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of the global shipping lanes.

Israel Prime Minister’s Office Statement, 19 November 2023

Separately, Japanese chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno reportedly said, “We strongly condemn such acts,” in a press conference on Monday.

Company registered at Athol Street

According to the Isle of Man Companies Registry, Ray Car Carriers Ltd, is registered to 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man. This is the same address as Manx law firm Appleby and Ocorian, who deliver tailored entity administration, fiduciary and compliance solutions.

Houthi leaders previously sanctioned by UK

In 2021, then-Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, and now Home Secretary, James Cleverly, said, “Muhammad Abd Al-Karim Al-Ghamari and Yusuf Al-Madani are generals who have been sanctioned for leading Houthi offensives throughout Yemen, particularly in Marib, and for orchestrating cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia. Saleh Mesfer Saleh Al-Shaer used his position to seize the assets of opponents and circumvent the UN arms embargo.”

20 November Update at 14:18: Added reference to Ocorian at 33-37 Athol Street, as this is likely more relevant to Ray Car Carriers Ltd.

21 November Update at 10:16: The main/header image was updated to include an image of the actual Galaxy Leader after being hijacked by terrorists. The image comes from a video released by the terrorists.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.