Yemen’s Houthi rebels have carried out a new attack against a ship in the Red Sea with a Greek-owned vessel the latest in their sights.

Piraeus-based Vulcanus Technical Maritime Enterprises confirmed the 56,900 dwt Zografia (built 2010) was targeted in the Red Sea but the crew were unharmed.

Separate incident reports published by maritime security firms and organisations suggest that the ship was attacked twice — once by a small craft and later by missile.

The first attack happened on Tuesday night when a small craft approached the vessel about 44 miles north-west of Mocha, Yemen.

However, the craft abandoned the approach following evasive manoeuvres by the vessel and armed guards firing warning shots.

The Houthis responded later in the day by firing a missile at the ship as it was sailing further north, about 76 nautical miles (141 kilometres) north-west of al-Saleef, Yemen.

“The bulker sustained minor damage, which allowed her to continue her voyage northbound towards Suez,” Athens-based maritime security firm Diaplous said.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said the damage was caused in the vessel’s cargo hold.

Why did they attack?

The Houthis confirmed the strike later on Tuesday, saying the ship was heading towards Israel.

The Malta-flagged ship was underway from Vietnam towards Suez when it was attacked, with VesselsValue's ship tracker showing it as ballasting.

According to Clarksons and Signal Ocean data, the Zografia did visit the Israeli port of Eilat in October.

The Houthis have warned in the past that they would target vessels trading with Israel, as part of their campaign to put pressure on Tel Aviv to ease its war against the Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza.

The Zografia has no ownership links to Israel and is controlled by Greek owner Aristotelis Theodoridis. In previous employments, the ship carried thermal coal, sulphur and iron ore fines.

Greece has said it will send a frigate as part of US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian to counter Houthi attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.