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Red Sea Crisis

Houthis attack Transworld Navigator again

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Footage has emerged purporting to show a maritime drone hitting the Transworld Navigator, a 178,000dwt bulk carrier which was transiting the Bab al-Mandeb strait, the fourth time the vessel has been targeted, according to the US military.

Details of the latest attack are disputed, with the Houthi armed forces claiming this was the second attack on the vessel, which was hit by a maritime drone. Unverified footage of a drone attacking a ship has emerged on social media, while the crew of the Greek-owned ship say there have been no injuries in the attacks.

A second vessel, the 37,600dwt product tanker Stolt Sequoia, was also said to have been hit by cruise missiles according to Houthi military commander Yahya Saree. Both ships were said to have been attacked in the last 24 hours, with the Stolt vessel hit while in the Indian Ocean, and the bulker targeted in the Red Sea.

US Central Command claimed in a social media post that the bulk carriers had been targeted by unmanned aerial systems at 4am local time yesterday: “This marks the fourth attack by Iranian-backed Houthis on the Transworld Navigator. US Centcom confirmed that, “the crew reported minor injuries and moderate damage to the ship, but the vessel has continued underway.”

According to defence specialists Ambrey, the Houthi’s first successfully used a Remote Controlled-Water Borne Improvised Explosive Device (RC-WBIED) on the 12 June when another Liberia-flagged bulk carrier, the 82,400dwt Tutor, was impacted off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, near Hodeida. The impact of the maritime drone caused the engine room to flood. Three hours thereafter, the vessel was targeted with a missile. One crewmember was reportedly killed following the attack, making this the second incident with crew fatality.

The crew was evacuated by military forces and the ship left not under control, and subsequently reported as sunk six days after the attack when an oil slick was spotted near Tutor's last known location. The maritime drone was described as a 5-7m long white-hulled boat “manned” with two dummies.

Houthi movement press also claim to have forced the US to withdraw its carrier, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, following missiles targeting the vessel. US Centcom, however, said that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group had ended its seven-month tour of duty and will be replaced by the Theodore Roosevelt carrier group. The Houthis have frequently exagerrated the damage caused by their attacks on shipping in the region, although their effectiveness has increased in recent weeks.