Another MSC-Operated Container Ship Targeted by Houthis

AI generated image of a drone attacking a container ship
Updated Published

The MSC Orion, a 15,000 TEU container ship operated by MSC, was attacked by a long-range Houthi drone in the Indian Ocean on 26 April. The attack was confirmed by Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree.

This incident followed the earlier capture of MSC Aries by Iranian forces, prompting MSC to redirect all Israel-linked ships from the Persian Gulf. The MSC Orion had left Portugal’s Sines port on 6 April, and was en route to Salalah port in Oman to offload its cargo on 28 April, bypassing a planned stop in Abu Dhabi on 30 April.

Currently part of MSC’s Himalaya Express service, the future itinerary for MSC Orion remains undecided. The attack is notable as it occurred 300 nautical miles from the Horn of Africa, marking it as one of the most distant operations by the Houthis.

In response to the MSC Aries incident, MSC moved the Orion and nine other ships connected to Israel, specifically those owned by Zodiac Maritime and Eastern Pacific Shipping, away from the Persian Gulf. 

The ongoing conflict has prompted nearly 5 million TEUs to reroute from the Red Sea via the Cape of Good Hope. The Houthis have threatened to extend their operations into the Indian Ocean, targeting vessels linked to Israel or its ally, the United States, as a response to the Gaza War.

The MSC Orion, built in 2020 and associated with Zodiac Maritime—an entity controlled by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer—suffered minor damage from the drone attack, but no crew members were injured. Debris from the drone was found aboard the vessel. The Combined Maritime Forces, a 43-nation military coalition, reported on the incident.