According to US Central Command (Centcom) the destroyer USS Carney responded to distress calls from three vessels on Sunday, with four attacks launched.
The USS Carney detected an anti-ship ballistic missile attack fired from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen toward the Bahamas-flagged bulker Unity Explorer at 9:15 am local time. The missile impacted in the vicinity of the 60,678 dwt, Unity Explorer, managed by Unity Maritime in the UK, a company founded by its CEO Danny Ungar.
At 12:00pm the USS Carney shot down a drone headed in the fired in the direction of the Unity Explorer
Shortly after at 12:35pm Centcom said the Unity Explorer sent a distress call that it had been struck by a missile from Houthi-controlled areas.
While assisting with a damage assessment of the Unity Explorer the USS Carney destroyed an incoming drone. The Unity Explorer reported minor damage from the missile strike.
At 3:30pm the containership Number 9 was struck by a missile fired from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen. The Panama-flagged vessel is managed by Bernhard Schulte Ship (BSM) in the UK with no apparent Israeli links. BSM said in a statement: “There are no reports of injuries or pollution, and the vessel is currently sailing. All crew onboard are accounted for and safe.” The company added its priority was the continued safety of the crew and the vessel.
Houthi military spokesman Yehya Sare’e posted on social media platform X saying it carried out the attacks on the Unity Explorer and the Number 9.
“The first Israeli ship was targeted by an anti-ship missile, while the second ship was targeted by a sea drone,” he said. It was claimed the two ships were targeted after rejecting warnings from Yemini naval forces.
The spokesman said the Houthi renewed its threat against Israeli or Israeli-linked to prevent them from navigating Red and Arabian Sea as long as the Israeli – Hamas conflict continues in Gaza.
Centcom said that the bulker Sophie II sent a distress call at 4:30pm after being struck by a missile. The USS Carney responded to the distress call and shot down a drone headed in the direction of the vessel while enroute to provide support. “No significant” damage was reported to the bulker.
The vessel would appear to be the Panama-flagged, 81,816 dwt, AOM Sophie II, owned by Kyowa Kisen/Green Spanker according to Equasis.
The US said it would consider all “appropriate responses” in full coordination with its international allies and partners.
“These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. They have jeopardised the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world. We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran,” Centcom said.
Last week the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) called for attacks on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to stop immediately. A growing number of vessels are diverting to avoid the region.
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