Feb 6 (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis fired missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea, they said on Tuesday, causing minor damage to a cargo ship that was sailing off the coast of Yemen’s Hodeidah.
The Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels with drones and missiles in the Red Sea since mid-November, in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians against Israel in the Gaza war.
The group’s military spokesman said it fired naval missiles at the Morning Tide and Star Nasia, identifying the Barbados- and Marshall Islands-flagged ships, respectively, as British and American.
British maritime security firm Ambrey said a Barbados-flagged, general cargo ship owned by a British company suffered damage from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) while sailing south east through the Red Sea.
No injuries were reported. The ship performed evasive manoeuvres and continued its journey, Ambrey said.
The owner of the Morning Tide, British firm Furadino Shipping, told Reuters the ship was currently sailing without problems, but gave no further information.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said just after midnight GMT on Tuesday that it had received a report of a projectile fired at the port side of a ship located 57 nautical miles west of Hodeidah and that a small craft was seen nearby.
The projectile passed over the deck and caused slight damage to the bridge windows, but the vessel and crew were safe and proceeded on the planned passage, UKMTO added.
LSEG ship-tracking data showed the Morning Tide was sailing down through the Red Sea having come through the Suez Canal on Friday. Its most recent signal shows it sailing out of the Red Sea through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
The Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping and forced firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to destabilise the wider Middle East.
The United States and Britain a month ago began striking Houthi targets in Yemen in retaliation for the attacks on Red Sea shipping.
The U.S. military said its forces conducted a strike in self-defence on Monday afternoon Yemen time against two Houthi explosive uncrewed surface vehicles (USV) that it said presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.
(Reporting by Yomna Ehab in Cairo, Nayera Abdallah and Tala Ramadan in Dubai, Writing by Lisa Barrington in Seoul; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)