Marine Link
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Houthis Claim to Attack Six Ships in Three Seas

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 29, 2024

French frigate FS Forbin assists bulk carrier Laax, which was hit by Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles in the Red Sea (Photo: French Armed Forces)

French frigate FS Forbin assists bulk carrier Laax, which was hit by Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles in the Red Sea (Photo: French Armed Forces)

Yemen's Houthis launched attacks on six ships in three different seas, the Iran-backed group said on Wednesday, including the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Laax that was damaged after reporting a missile strike off the Yemeni coast.

Security and shipping sources confirmed the Houthis hit the Laax in a barrage of attacks on Tuesday. In a televised speech, the group also said it targeted the Morea and Sealady in the Red Sea, the Alba and Maersk Hartford in the Arabian Sea and the Minerva Antonia in the Mediterranean.

The U.S.-flagged Maersk Hartford container ship was not the subject of a drone or missile attack, said Ed Hanley, chief operating officer of U.S.-based Maersk Line, which owns the vessel.

"I can't speak to the other five ships, but the Hartford is fine," Hanley said in a telephone interview. "Nothing happened."

Reuters was not immediately able to reach the registered owners of the other vessels for comment.

The Houthis, who describe their attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, have launched repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea region since November. They have since expanded attacks to other busy waterways.

Tuesday's Houthi attacks came as Israeli tanks moved into the heart of Rafah for the first time - despite an order from the International Court of Justice to end its attacks on the city, where many Palestinians had taken refuge from bombardment elsewhere.

Five missiles fired from Yemen struck the Laax, which was carrying grain, but the vessel was still able to sail to its destination and the crew were safe, the ship's security company, LSS-SAPU, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"The vessel has sustained damage, she is not taking water, she is not tilting and there are no wounded onboard," a LSS-SAPU spokesperson said.

"She is proceeding to her destination with a normal speed."

The spokesperson with LSS-SAPU, which was responsible for evacuating the crew from the Rubymar ship which sank after being hit by a Houthi missile earlier this year, said Laax's Greece-based owner had no connection with Israel or the United States.

The vessel last reported its position on May 28 with a destination of Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran, LSEG shipping data showed.

The Houthis have promised to attack any ships sailing toward Israeli ports, even in the Mediterranean. They also have identified U.S. and UK-affiliated vessels as targets.

The Houthi campaign has sunk one ship, the Rubymar, and included the seizure of another vessel and the killing of three crew members in yet another attack. It has disrupted global shipping by forcing vessels to avoid the nearby Suez Canal and reroute trade around Africa.

(Reuters - Reporting by Nayera Abdallah, Clauda Tanios, Jonathan Saul and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Michael Georgy, Nick Macfie, William Maclean, Deepa Babington and Jonathan Oatis)