Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Red Sea Crisis

Renewed Red Sea attacks leave two vessels adrift, seafarer missing

Photo: US CENTCOM X Feed Bulker True Confidence following fatal Houthi missile strike
The frequency of Houthi attacks in the Red Sea has increased in June with multiple commercial vessels damaged by attacks by air and sea.

In the month of May, UKMTO issued 14 warnings and updates across five incidents off the coast of Yemen. As of June 17, the organisation had issued 25 warnings and updates across 11 incidents month-to-date.

Incidents reported in June range from explosions viewed some distance from a vessel to nearby explosions, a drone boat strike, and missile strikes. Attacks in the last week have left two vessels not under command in the Red Sea and a Filipino seafarer missing.

On 12 June, the bulk carrier Tutor was struck by an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) followed by an airborne projectile. The crew was evacuated by military forces, leaving the ship not under control and unlit. A threat circular issued by Ambrey stated the impact led to engine room flooding and a reported crew fatality. Of the 22 Filipino seafarers onboard, 21 were rescued by US forces, according the US military and Office of the President of the Philippines; the latter reported one seafarer remained missing.

In response to the attack and others, President of the Philippines Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. imposed a whole-of-government approach to help Filipino seafarers attacked by the Houthi rebel group in the Red Sea.

“Ansar Allah (“the Houthis”) have maintained an elevated level of operations since an Israel Defense Forces incursion into the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip appeared imminent,” said Ambrey. “In the week leading up to this Threat Circular [14 June], the Houthi claimed six operations against merchant shipping. Four of those targeting attempts resulted in physical damage, marking a significant increase in effectiveness.”

A second vessel Verbena was left adrift after being struck by three projectiles on 13 June across two attacks, leading to damage and a fire onboard. The fire was reported under control on that date, but the crew subsequently abandoned the Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated bulk carrier on 15 June with the Master reporting the ship to be on fire and sinking. 

Another commercial vessel Anna Meta responded to a distress call from Verbena, rescuing the crew and transporting them to safety.  According to US Central Command, the Iranian frigate IRIN Jamaran was 9 nm Verbena and did not respond to the distress call.

US forces continue to target Houthi assets in the region, reporting the destruction of two uncrewed surface vessels (USV) in the Red Sea, one uncrewed aerial system (UAS) over the Red Sea, and seven Iranian-backed Houthi radars in Yemen.

“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” said US Central Command on Twitter.