AL MUKALLA, Yemen — A ship carrying almost 60 people off the coast of Yemen is believed to have capsized in high seas, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday.
“Four passengers have been rescued by Spanish and Yemeni commercial ships that we were sailing in the area, and we are still looking for survivors,” said the official, Fahd Kafayen, the minister of fisheries.
The boat set sail on Saturday from Al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramout Province, bound for the remote island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. Flights between Hadramout and Socotra have been suspended since the beginning of the civil war between the government of Yemen’s exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies, and a rebel movement from the north known as the Houthis.
Mr. Kafayen, who is from Socotra, said that people who wished to travel between the island and the mainland “were forced into sailing on these cargo ships.”
He said 47 passengers, including children, and several crew members were aboard the fiberglass vessel. The ship was also carrying 12 small boats, he said, a gift from his ministry to fishermen on Socotra.
“We think that some passengers survived when they used the boats when the ship capsized,” Mr. Kafayen said.
No other details about what happened to the ship or those aboard were immediately available.
According to The Associated Press, the government has asked the Saudi-led coalition, which has been carrying out an extensive air campaign against the Houthis, for help with the search.