Houthis Hit Another Merchant Ship With a Bomb Boat

Another commercial vessel has been struck by one or more Houthi suicide drones in the Red Sea, according to the Royal Navy’s UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office and multiple maritime security consultancies.

The UKMTO reported that a vessel transiting the Red Sea was attacked by a waterborne improvised explosive device at 0645 GMT on Thursday morning. The incident occurred about 80 nautical miles southwest of Hodeidah, Yemen, a region known for high Houthi activity.

Fortunately, the vessel and its crew were reported to be safe, and the ship is now en route to its next port of call. Western military forces are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Merchant Ship

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree identified the target vessel as the Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Panamax bulker Seajoy. He claimed that Houthi forces targeted the ship with multiple missiles, drones, and an uncrewed surface boat, resulting in a “direct and accurate hit.” Saree stated that the vessel was targeted due to its call at an Israeli port, which the Yemeni group considers a violation of their attempted embargo on Israeli maritime commerce.

However, Seajoy’s last received AIS position was in the Strait of Malacca on June 12, heading westbound. Her last declared destination was Durban, and AIS records show no signs of a port call in Israel over the past 12 months, according to data from Pole Star.

Houthi WBIEDs (waterborne improvised explosive devices), or remotely-controlled bomb boats, pose a significant threat to shipping in the Red Sea. Earlier this month, a similar device disguised as a small fishing vessel struck and sank the bulker Tutor. One crewmember was killed in the attack, and the rest abandoned ship. A crewmember on the bridge captured video footage of the drone boat as it approached, as well as the aftermath of the explosion.

Last weekend, U.S. forces identified and destroyed three WBIEDs in the Red Sea, indicating an increased pace of activity for these Houthi devices compared to previous incidents.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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