Red Sea Under Attack: Containership Witnesses Explosions

The Red Sea
Updated Published

On January 2nd, Ambrey, a maritime security company based in the UK, revealed that a container ship flying the Malta flag observed three explosions in the direction of its port quarter. The incident occurred approximately 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Yemen's Mocha.

The captain of the vessel communicated via VHF, reaching out to a coalition warship, as reported by the company.

Ambrey believes that three missiles were launched from a region in Yemen called Taiz Governorate. 

Shortly after the incident, a nearby ship reported the sighting of a compact boat measuring approximately 50 meters (160 feet) in length, adorned with two lights, within a distance of 1 mile (1.6 km) from the location, according to the company's information.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organization reported on Tuesday that it had received information indicating the occurrence of up to three explosions within a range of one to five nautical miles from a commercial vessel in the Bab al-Mandab strait. This incident transpired approximately 33 nautical miles east of Assab in Eritrea.

Yemen's Houthi militants, with backing from Iran and dominance over key areas, including the capital, Sanaa, have increased their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. This escalation serves as a demonstration of their opposition to Israel's actions in Gaza.

“It was assessed this particular vessel was not Israel-affiliated, but other vessels in the operator’s fleet had regularly called Israel, and this affiliation might have been sufficient for her to be targeted,” Ambrey stated.

In reaction to the attacks, numerous shipping lines have ceased operations in the Red Sea and have chosen to embark on the lengthier route around the continent of Africa.

The Houthis have declared their determination to continue their attacks until Israel resolves the conflict in Gaza. They have also cautioned that any targeting of the militia group itself could lead to retaliatory strikes against U.S. warships.