An Evalend Shipping bulker has been abandoned after a naval operation to evacuate the crew, a UK agency said.

After an attack by Houthi militants on Wednesday killed a seafarer and left the ship taking on water, the Greek shipowner’s 82,000-dwt Tutor (built 2022) becomes the second vessel that has been abandoned since the Yemen-based group began menacing shipping.

It is also the second Houthi strike that resulted in a crew fatality.

The incident comes amid a new spate of successful attacks by the group, including a strike on Thursday that sparked a blaze on the 11,400-dwt Polish-Ukrainian bulker Verbena (built 2008) and severely injured a mariner.

The Royal Navy’s UK Maritime Trade Operations said on Friday that a military operation evacuated the Tutor at coordinates east of the Eritrean coast in the southern Red Sea.

“The vessel has been abandoned and is drifting in the vicinity and unlit,” the agency said on X.

TradeWinds has previously reported that a salvage operation was underway after the attack on the Tutor, which was in danger of sinking and was not responding to command.

The attack stands out because it is the first time the Houthis have succeeded in attacking a ship with a sea drone, or what maritime security firm Ambrey Analytics described as a remote-controlled waterborne improvised explosive device.

The company said the explosion led to flooding of the engine room.

The Tutor was southwest of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah with its location transponder off when the sea drone attack took place. The weapon was a five to seven-metres white-hulled boat that resembled a Yemeni fishing vessel, with two dummies on board to resemble crew.

The Tutor was already declared “not under command” when it was struck by a missile.

Arsenio Dominguez. Photo: IMO

Ansar Allah, as the Houthi organisation is formally known, has “maintained an elevated level of operations” since the Israeli military prepared to enter the Gaza city of Rafah, Ambrey said.

“The use of dummies was significant. This modus operandi has been seen before,” the firm said. “This can disguise the nature of the threat and can draw defensive fire toward the ‘operator’.”

In previous incidents, operators of such drones have been in nearby skiffs. However, a second vessel was not reported in the Tutor attack, and Ambrey said the Houthis have shown the capability to operate sea drones using a video feed and GPS.

“It is assessed possible that this was controlled remotely from land,” the firm said.

The Tutor is among Greek vessels that have been increasingly drawing the Houthis’ attention since the militants launched the “fourth phase” of their campaign against shipping a few weeks ago, threatening to target every vessel of a company they believe has traded in Israel.

Evalend Shipping, an Athens-based owner of 51 tankers, bulkers and gas carriers, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Liberian-flag Tutor is classed by Lloyd’s Register and insured by Norway’s Gard, according to Equasis.

The deadly attack drew condemnation from the International Maritime Organization’s secretary general, Arsenio Dominguez.

“Once again, I am appalled at the fact that seafarers going about their work continue to be targeted and injured,” he said.

“I am truly saddened to learn that one crew member is currently unaccounted for on merchant vessel Tutor, following an attack on the ship in the Red Sea.”

He condemned any attack on international shipping, regardless of the motivations for the strike.

“I demand all governments and relevant organisations to provide maximum assistance to seafarers affected, and to spare no effort in finding a resolution to this crisis,” Dominguez said.

“This situation cannot go on. Everybody is going to feel the negative effect if international shipping is not able to trade as normal. But our commitment is, above all, safeguarding the safety of all seafarers.”

The only vessel that was abandoned by crew after a Houthi attack was the 32,200-dwt Rubymar (built 1997) in February. The bulker ultimately sank.

The only other fatal attack was the March strike on the 50,400-dwt bulker True Confidence (built 2011).

Meanwhile, coalition warships continue to fire back at the Houthis.

On Thursday, US Central Command said its forces destroyed one uncrewed surface vessel and two Houthi patrol boats, and they shot down an aerial drone fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

“This continued malign and reckless behaviour by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the US regional military command said on X.

“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza.”

Harry Papachristou contributed to this article