Two ships owned by Ray Car Carriers have diverted from the Red Sea following the seizure of the company’s Galaxy Leader by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group.

The 5,100-ceu Galaxy Leader (built 2002), which is operated Japan’s NYK Group, was en route from Turkey to India when it was intercepted on Sunday.

The Iran-backed Houthis had warned that they would target Israeli-linked tonnage as long as Israel continues its war in Gaza.

Ray Car Carriers is registered in the Isle of Man but owned by Israel’s Rami Ungar.

Now security company Ambrey has observed two unnamed Bahamas-registered vessels from the same company changing their routes.

The first entered the Gulf of Aden westbound about 95 nautical miles (about 75 km) south of Nishtun, Yemen.

It continued to sail back to where it had come from, providing a new AIS destination as Hambantota in Sri Lanka.

The ship had left Singapore eight days earlier and passed Sri Lanka four days before it turned around, Ambrey said, adding a minimum of four days to its voyage and an extra 1,876 nautical miles.

The second car carrier diverted while southbound in the Red Sea about 82 nautical miles west of Al Qunfudhah in Saudi Arabia.

The ship slowly manoeuvred to a position 24 nautical miles to the north, Ambrey said.

This unit had left Koper in Slovenia five days prior.


The AIS destination was broadcast as Guangzhou in China.

The carrier has already added nearly a day to its itinerary, the security company believes.

Ray Car Carriers has a fleet of 65 car carriers and two 2020-built VLCCs, with a further eight LNG-capable car carriers on order, according to industry databases.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said it “strongly condemns the Iranian attack” against the Galaxy Leader.

“The ship, owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese company, was hijacked on Iranian whim by the Houthi militia in Yemen,” the office said in a statement.

“On board the ship are 25 crew members of different nationalities, including Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Filipinos and Mexicans.”

No Israelis were on the Galaxy Leader.