Yemen’s Houthis say they targeted Greek-owned ship in Red Sea

The attack on the cargo ship caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room, but there were no reports of casualties.

Yemeni coastguards
Houthis have been launching scores of drone and missile attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November in support of Palestinians in Gaza [File: AFP]

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for a small watercraft and missile attack that left a Greek-owned cargo ship taking water and in need of rescue near the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in Wednesday’s attack on the cargo ship. It is unclear if the vessel’s ownership has any connection to Israel.

The Iran-backed group, which is at war with a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, has been in control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa and its most populous areas. It has been launching scores of drone and missile attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November in support of the Palestinians under Israeli attack in Gaza. They have sunk one ship, seized another vessel, and killed three seafarers in several attacks.

The Houthis said the Tutor coal carrier was seriously damaged and vulnerable to sinking after they targeted the vessel with an unmanned surface boat, drones and ballistic missiles.

The ship was hit about 68 nautical miles (126km) southwest of Hodeidah, maritime security firm Ambrey said on Wednesday.

“The impact of the [unmanned surface vessel] caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement on the attack, which was the Houthis’ first using a boat as a weapon.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which acts as a conduit between ship operators and military and security forces, said on Wednesday the Liberian-flagged Tutor was taking on water and not under the crew’s command after sustaining damage to its engine room.

Upending global trade

UKMTO said a small craft of white colour collided with the cargo ship’s stern and that an “unknown airborne projectile” also struck the vessel.

“It was hit twice by air and by sea. There are no reports of injuries,” a Greek official said on condition of anonymity. The Tutor was sailing to India when it was hit, they said.

The Tutor loaded at the Port of Ust-Luga, Russia, on May 18 and discharged at Port Said, Egypt, on June 9, according to the London Stock Exchange Group data. Its next scheduled destination was Aqaba, Jordan, according to it.

The Houthi attacks have upended global trade by forcing ship owners to reroute vessels away from the vital Suez Canal shortcut, drawing retaliatory strikes from the United States and the UK since February.

On Wednesday, the Houthis said they also carried out two joint military operations with Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed armed group, targeting sites in Israel’s cities of Ashdod and Haifa. The latter confirmed the operations.

The Houthi attacks continue while negotiators from the US, Egypt and Qatar attempt to mediate a ceasefire in the Gaza war, which began after Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and took about 250 others captive in the October 7 attacks on Israel.

Israel responded with an air, ground and sea assault on the Palestinian territory that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies