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Red Sea Crisis

28 Houthi drones shot down in Red Sea as attacks intensify

UK MoD HMS-Diamond-firing.jpg
The US military says some 28 drones were downed in less than five hours on 9 March fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen at vessels in the Red Sea.

In an apparent intensification of attacks by the Houthi US Central Command said US and coalition forces had shot down 28 uncrewed aerial vehicles between 04:00 hrs and 08:20 hrs (local time in Sanaa) on 9 March.

Centcom said there were no reports of damage to commercial vessels in the attack and there was also no damage to US or coalition naval vessels.

The Yemini armed forces meanwhile claimed on 9 March to have “successfully achieved their goals” in targeting an “American ship” Propel Fortune in the Gulf of Aden with a number of missiles, as well as targeting US warships in the Red Sea with 37 drones.

The only vessel listed in the Equasis database with the name Propel Fortune is a 58,168 dwt, Singapore-registered bulker, with no obvious US links.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said the Master of vessel 50nm Southeast of Aden reported two explosions ahead of the vessel on 8 March. The vessel and crew were reported as safe.

Last week saw the first fatalities from the Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden which have been ongoing since mid-November 2023.

A missile strike on the bulker True Confidence on 6 March left three seafarers dead and two seriously injured. The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the Indian navy who brought them to safety in Djibouti.

While many ships had already rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Houthi threat the fatal attack will likely see even more vessels divert avoiding the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Maritime intelligence Windward reported a 225% surge in the number of vessels anchoring at the Port Waiting Areas north and south of the Suez Canal, with 61% taking place after the attack on the True Confidence.

Along with the recent sinking of the vessel Rubymar, HSBC Global Research said in report on 11 March, “These recent casualties may further deter carriers from sailing the Red Sea.