Yemen’s Houthi rebels resumed their attacks against commercial shipping on Monday, ending a week-long lull in hostilities.
Just as in the previous attack six days ago, they targeted a vessel by US-listed Star Bulk Carriers — without, however, causing any injury among its crew or serious damage.
Confirming a TradeWinds report earlier in the day, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said naval missiles were fired at the 76,500-dwt Star Iris (built 2004).
According to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and maritime security intelligence firms Diaplous and Ambrey Analytics, two missiles were fired towards the vessel as it was crossing the southern Red Sea between 00:35 and 01:10 GMT.
UKMTO and Diaplous located the attack 40 nautical miles (74 km) south of Mocha in Yemen and said it caused no casualties among the crew. The vessel proceeded in a seaworthy state towards the Gulf of Aden to its next port of call.
“Crew is safe, incident is over,” Diaplous related.
Ambrey, however, said it has received information that the ship was hit once and “sustained physical damage on the starboard side”.
A Star Bulk vessel was also the last ship targeted by the Houthis with three missiles on 6 February, as TradeWinds reported at the time. The 82,300-dwt Star Nasia (built 2006) suffered minor damage and continued its journey.
These were far from the first attacks carried out by the Houthis against bulker owners listed in the US. Genco Shipping & Trading and Eagle Bulk ships have been targeted as well over the past few weeks.
The latest strikes take the number of Houthi attacks against commercial and warships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since 19 November well above the 50 mark.
The Houthis’ stated goal is to attack ships with links to Israel and its Western allies, to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the war against the Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza.
The Houthis, who control large swathes of Yemen, are particularly targeting ships affiliated with the US and the UK, whose governments have been bombing them in retaliation for disrupting freedom of navigation.
The Houthis’ seemingly undiminished capacity to carry out missile and drone attacks against ships stands in stark contrast to Western officials’ claims that Allied airstrikes against them are effective.
Much ship traffic through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal has come to a halt, with the exception of non-Western trade carried on Chinese or Russian-affiliated vessels.