The Houthis have confirmed the use of an unmanned surface boat to hit a Greek-owned bulker in the Red Sea on Wednesday.

According to maritime intelligence sources, this is the first time the Yemeni militant group has hit a commercial vessel with a sea drone since they began their campaign against shipping in mid-November.

US naval forces patrolling the area have repeatedly claimed to have intercepted and destroyed Houthi sea drones before. None of them had previously been known to have directly hit a ship.

In a televised statement, Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree also confirmed previous information that Evalend Shipping’s 82,400-dwt Tutor (built 2022) was attacked with “a number of drones and ballistic missiles” as well.

“The operation led to a serious injury to the ship and it is vulnerable to sinking,” Saree said, according to a computer translation.

The Tutor was targeted for “violating [Houthi policy] to ban entry into the ports of occupied Palestine”.

Athens-based Evalend did not respond to a request for comment.

Owner Kriton Lendoudis has not hesitated to send his ships to hotspots — even as modern ones as the two-year-old Tutor.

In October, TradeWinds reported that Evalend was the first Greek company to use Ukraine’s reopened grain corridor in the Black Sea.

TradeWinds reported earlier on Wednesday that the Tutor sustained serious damage and water ingress in its engine room after a double Houthi strike.

The Liberia-flagged ship cannot steer under its own steam and will probably need to be towed.

The Tutor incident was first reported by the ship’s master on VHF radio at 7.10 am local time (04:00 GMT) while the ship was sailing southbound about 70 nautical miles (130 km) southwest of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.