Yemen’s Houthi rebels reportedly launched ballistic missiles targeting two ships associated with the U.S. and the UK overnight, according to U.S. military officials.
he attacks occurred shortly after the UK’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps expressed concerns about the militants’ continued intent to target ships, despite previous joint strikes and U.S. missions against them.
The first ship, the UK-managed general cargo vessel Morning Tide, experienced an attack 57 miles west of Hodeidah, Yemen. Despite displaying “Chinese Ownership” on its AIS, the ship is owned by a UK firm.
Although the crew attempted evasive maneuvers upon detecting small boats, one of them fired a suspected missile, causing damage to the ship, particularly the bridge windows. U.S. Central Command later reported that three Houthi-fired anti-ship ballistic missiles aimed at Morning Tide had hit the water near the vessel without causing significant damage.
The second vessel, the Greek-owned bulker Star Nasia managed by U.S.-listed company Star Bulk Carriers, reported an explosion about 50 meters away at the water level after transiting the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb.
Conflicting reports suggest the attackers might have used a drone or a sea mine. U.S. Central Command’s account differs, indicating that three Houthi ballistic missiles targeted Star Nasia over 12 hours. The first missile caused minor damage, the second missed, and the third was intercepted by the USS Laboon. The vessel sustained no injuries and continued its journey.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has rerouted all of its ships via the Cape of Good Hope due to attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea region, CEO Takeshi Hashimoto told Reuters on Tuesday.