The Houthis’ combined sea drone and missile attack on a Greek bulker on Wednesday killed one seafarer.

It is the second commercial vessel to suffer a fatality as a result of the Yemeni rebels’ campaign against shipping in the Red Sea.

Market sources indicate that the seafarer’s body is trapped in the flooded engine room.

It is not immediately clear whether the crew member died because of a projectile impact or drowned after water poured into the engine room.

The Evalend Shipping-owned 82,400-dwt Tutor (built 2022) became the first ship to be hit by a Houthi sea drone and was subjected to at least one missile attack as well.

The Tutor has not been under its own command since and has suffered “severe flooding and damage to its engine room”, according to the US military and maritime intelligence sources.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said late on Wednesday that the ship was “vulnerable to sinking”.

Sources speaking to TradeWinds on Thursday are confirming that information, as the engine room is said to be completely submerged.

A salvage operation is in full swing.

Market sources are telling TradeWinds that Tsavliris Salvage Group has engaged two oceangoing tug boats, the 15,000-bhp Gladiator (built 1977) and 5,150-bhp Hercules (built 2009), to rush to the Tutor’s rescue.

All procedures followed

Both boats are currently subject to US sanctions against Iran.

TradeWinds, however, understands that the operation has obtained special dispensation from US authorities and that all proper procedures and steps are being followed.

The True Confidence, which was struck in the Gulf of Aden in March, lost three seafarers. Photo: US Central Command

Vessels linked to the same US-sanctioned operator, United Arab Emirates-based Swedish Management Co, obtained similar approval to operate three months when they provided assistance to another ship in grave danger after a Houthi hit — the 50,400-dwt True Confidence (built 2011).

Three seafarers died after a missile struck the True Confidence, making it the only vessel to have suffered fatalities, before the Tutor.

Safety fears of traditional tug operators and sanctions severely restrict alternatives for vessel rescues in the area.

US dispensation was not the only obstacle the salvors of the True Confidence faced.

The first ship sent out to tow the True Confidence in March broke down. The replacement vessel was sent several days later, but Djibouti authorities refused to grant it port of refuge, citing security concerns.

The ship and survivors had eventually to travel to Duqm in Oman.

Kriton-Lendoudis controlled Evalend has not made any statement about the Tutor incident since Wednesday.

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