In a recent assault, Houthi rebels targeted a US warship and the British oil tanker Marlin Luanda in the Gulf of Aden, escalating tensions in the Red Sea.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels launched an attack on a US warship and the British oil tanker Marlin Luanda in the Gulf of Aden, resulting in a fire onboard. The rebel group’s recent targeting of vessels in the Red Sea is reportedly in response to Israel’s military actions in Gaza.
The fuel tanker, operated on behalf of the trading firm Trafigura, was confirmed to have been hit by a missile as it transited the Red Sea. The Marlin Luanda was transporting Russian naphtha, purchased in accordance with G7 sanctions at a price below the cap. This information comes from the Reuters news agency.
Simultaneously, the US warship USS Carney, a destroyer, was attacked while passing through the Gulf of Aden. This incident is believed to be one of the most significant confrontations at sea between Western forces and the Middle East in decades.
Houthi Escalation in Red Sea Attacks | Latest Developments
- The attack on USS Carney represents the first direct targeting of a US warship by the Houthis since their assaults on shipping began in November of the previous year. According to a US official speaking to the Associated Press, these attacks signify a major escalation.
- The US Central Command confirmed that the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile at the warship. “On January 26, at approximately 1:30 pm (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired one anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) in the Gulf of Aden. The missile was successfully shot down by USS Carney. There were no injuries or damage reported,” stated the Central Command. The attack on the oil tanker is also significant, as many of the previous Houthi attacks targeted container ships and oil tankers using the Red Sea for transit. Trafigura confirmed a missile struck the fuel tanker, and firefighting equipment was deployed to control a fire in one cargo tank. The company stated, “We remain in contact with the vessel and are monitoring the situation carefully.”
- In response to the attack, the UK government declared that Britain and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately.” A UK government official stated, “We are aware of reports that the M/V Marlin Luanda, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, has sustained damage from an attack in the Gulf of Aden. Current reports suggest no casualties, and nearby coalition vessels are on the scene. We have been clear that any attacks on commercial shipping are completely unacceptable, and that the UK and our allies reserve the right to respond appropriately.”
- A Houthi military spokesperson acknowledged their naval forces’ operation on the oil tanker, identifying the vessel as ‘British’. However, they have not yet acknowledged the attack on the USS Carney. According to the US Central Command, the USS Carney, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer involved in American operations against the Houthi campaign, successfully intercepted the missile fired towards it.
- The intensified attacks on vessels in the Red Sea are perceived as aggression by the Iran-backed rebels. These attacks have disrupted global trade amid Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, leading to multiple rounds of airstrikes by the US and Britain in recent weeks.