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Houthi Rebels Hit Two Merchant Ships in Two Days

Houthi anti-ship missiles on parade (Yahya Saree / Houthi Military Media)
Houthi anti-ship missiles on parade (Yahya Saree / Houthi Military Media)

Published Jun 9, 2024 1:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

Over the weekend, Yemen's Houthi rebels hit two ships in the Gulf of Aden, starting fires on both. [Updated: An earlier version of this article mistakenly claimed that three vessels were hit. Only two vessels were involved, but one was hit twice.]

The first attack occurred at 2000 hours GMT on Saturday at a position roughly 40 nautical miles southwest of Aden. An unknown projectile struck the vessel Nordeney and started a fire near mooring equipment, according to UKMTO. All crewmembers were reported safe, and the vessel continued onwards to its next port of call. 

The second attack occurred at 2340 hours GMT on Saturday, at a position about 70 nautical miles southwest of Aden. An unknown munition hit the vessel towards the aft end of the ship and started a fire. The master reported that damage control efforts were under way and that the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call. No injuries were reported among the crew. (In an update late Sunday, UKMTO identified the vessel as the MSC Tavvishi.)

A third missile attack was reported at 1430 hours GMT on Sunday. The strike also resulted in a hit, according to UKMTO, but no casualties were reported among the crew, and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call. The incident occurred about 90 nautical miles to the southwest of Aden, near Djibouti. Late Sunday, UKMTO identified the vessel involved as the Nordeney - the second attack involving the ship in as many days. 

The strikes follow shortly after a report of an unsuccessful attempted attack on Friday. The master of the AAL Genoa reported two explosions near his ship at a position about 27 nautical miles to the southwest of Al Mukha; no damage occurred and the crew were uninjured. 

U.S. Central Command has not confirmed the attacks, nor commented on Houthi activity since Friday. On June 7, it reported that U.S. forces observed four ballistic missile launches from Yemen over the Red Sea, none successful. On the same day, U.S. assets conducted preemptive strikes to destroy four drones and two anti-ship ballistic missiles on the ground in Yemen, and also destroyed one airborne drone over Bab el-Mandeb and one Houthi patrol boat in the Red Sea.