Houthis Allege Indian Ocean Attack Over Weekend

AI generated image of missiles attacking a commercial vessel
Updated Published

Over the weekend, the Houthis announced an expansion of their military operations, according to a televised statement, targeting three merchant vessels and U.S. frigates, including one assault in the Indian Ocean. 

Security analysts, however, have yet to verify these claims, and there is an established pattern of the Houthis exaggerating their naval actions over the past six months as they have engaged in attacks on merchant ships to advocate for a truce between Israel and Hamas.

In their announcement, the Houthis stated they had fired missiles at three ships: the 3,534 TEU vessel Hope Island owned by Borealis Maritime, and two ships owned by Mediterranean Shipping Company - the 4,056 TEU MSC Gina and the 24,300 DWT multipurpose vessel MSC Grace F. 

These ships were located in disparate regions: the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean, marking a potential escalation in the geographic range of their attacks, pending confirmation. Preliminary reports indicate that none of the targeted ships sustained damage.

Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, highlighted the significance of the claims, especially the reported attacks in the Arabian Sea, which is part of the northern Indian Ocean, and directly in the Indian Ocean itself. 

Jensen, who has been regularly updating the maritime community about the Red Sea shipping crisis on LinkedIn, noted, "If this is true, it would constitute an expansion of the risk area to now also include the approach routes to the major container hubs on the south coast of Oman as well as approach routes towards the Strait of Hormuz."