Photo by US Navy on 31 December, 2023

US Navy Fends Off Two Houthis Attacks on Red Sea Shipping

Public By Pesach Benson • 31 December, 2023

Jerusalem, 31 December, 2023 (TPS) -- The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reports that a ship has been attacked in the Red Sea near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on Sunday morning, hours after a US-led multinational naval force fended off an attack on another vessel.

According to UKMTO, the ship, which was not identified, was attacked by three small vessels, and that shots were fired. Ships from a US-led multinational task force assisted and the attacking ships departed. The ship’s crew is all accounted for and there are no casualties.

On Saturday night, the container ship Maersk Hangzhou was struck by a missile while traversing the Red Sea, Centcom said. The Danish-owned ship, which is sailing under a Singaporean flag, requested assistance. As the USS Gravely and USS Laboon responded, two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships. The missiles were intercepted by the Gravely.

No injuries were reported aboard the Maersk Hangzhou and the ship is seaworthy.

Centcom said that Saturday night’s attack was “the 23rd illegal attack by the Houthis on international shipping since Nov. 19.”

From bases along the Yemeni coast, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have threatened ships in the Red Sea as they traverse the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, a narrow maritime chokepoint between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The majority of the world’s oil passes through the strait from the Indian Ocean towards the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.

The Houthis vowed in early December to target any Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea, regardless of its ownership. They have attacked or harassed a number of ships and hijacked the Galaxy Leader in November. The cargo ship and its crew of 25 are being held hostage in Hodeidah.

Major shipping companies have responded to the threat by rerouting vessels away from the Suez Canal-Red Sea route to going around the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, a much longer journey.

In response, the US is leading Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational coalition of naval forces protecting shipping in the Red Sea.

Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, recently resumed operations in the Red Sea despite Houthi threats.