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Houthis Claim Attack on US Warship and Bulker as UN Discusses Actions

US warship
USS Mason was targeted buthe Houthi (USN)

Published May 15, 2024 1:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree issued his first statement in days reporting two incidents that appeared to be days old. U.S. officials have speculated that the ongoing efforts of the U.S. and EU as well as other nations may be taking a toll on the Houthis' capabilities and stockpile of weapons. 

The latest report claimed an attack on a U.S. warship, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, which has been one of the vessels regularly taking down Houthi attacks. The Houthi inferred the targeting of the vessel, which they called “successful,” was in response to the ship’s efforts.  

US Central Command two days ago reported the Mason had been involved in the most recent volley of assaults. On May 13, they reported the Mason engaged and destroyed one inbound anti-ship ballistic missile. It was one of the interceptions reported by CENTCOM which said its forces also took down two drones launched by the Houthi that day.

EUNAVFOR Aspides, which tracks the daily reports, shows that U.S. and EU forces have taken down 13 drones and missiles in the past week. One additional drone they show as having crashed. All of these launches have come since the Houthi stepped up attacks saying they were launching a fourth wave in their efforts.

Today’s report also took credit for targeting a vessel that was only identified as the “Destiny.” It is likely one of several bulkers operating in the region, but it was unclear which vessel was targeted and when the incident took place.

Saree said the vessel was targeted because it had stopped in the Israeli port of Eilat on the northern Red Sea. They accused the vessel of having visited the port on April 20 but that it had attempted to hide the visit on its AIS transmission They said the ship was warned by the Houthi forces of its violation of their ban and as such they added it to their target list. They reportedly fired on the vessel while it was in the Red Sea.

“It is abundantly clear that the Houthis and their attacks in the Red Sea, and increasingly now in the Indian Ocean, are jeopardizing the potential benefits of a political resolution between the Yemeni parties,” said the U.S. representative discussing the situation at a meeting of the UN Security Council on May 13. The U.S. called on the Security Council to move more aggressively to stop Iran’s exportation of weapons to the Houthi while the UK representative spotlighted “a notable surge” in vessels that have entered Houthi-controlled ports without reporting to the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen, which restricts the supply of illegal weapons entering Yemen.

In the discussion at the Security Council, many members called on the Houthis to cease attacks on vessels transiting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, underlining that security is a prerequisite for peace.  The Russian Federation representative, however, expressed regret that events in the Middle East are impeding Yemen’s normalization while saying the situation is further complicated by “totally unjustified” Western strikes on Yemen’s sovereign territory and the increasing militarization of the waters surrounding it.

UN officials highlighted that through dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiation a roadmap had been agreed last year that could lead to a political settlement of the long-running civil war in Yemen. Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen noted that such commitments would provide for a nationwide ceasefire, ensure much-needed relief for Yemenis, and initiate an inclusive political process to sustainably end the conflict. Unconfirmed reports said that they expect Saudi Arabia to lead a new effort to restart the roadmap and move toward the negotiated settlement.