ANI Photo | Houthis hit US-owned ship in missile attack in Red Sea: US Central Command

A Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile hit a US-owned and operated cargo ship on Monday, US Central Command announced in a statement, CNN reported.
The attack against the Gibraltar Eagle seems to be the first time the Houthis have successfully hit a US-owned or operated ship, increasing the stakes in the Red Sea after the US pledged that further Houthi launches would be given a response.
The Houthi attack comes just days after a US-led coalition conducted strikes against the Iranian-backed rebel group in Yemen. The US warned more strikes were possible if the Houthis continued to attack, CNN reported.
The M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier owned and operated by US-based Eagle Bulk, suffered no injuries or significant damage, US Central Command said.
In a post shared on X, US Central Command stated, “On Jan. 15 at approximately 4 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship. The ship has reported no injuries or significant damage and is continuing its journey.”
In a statement, Eagle Bulk Shipping said that the Gibraltar Eagle, which is carrying a cargo of steel products, was hit “by an unidentified projectile” roughly 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Aden.
The statement said, “As a result of the impact, the vessel suffered limited damage to a cargo hold but is stable and is heading out of the area.” It further stated, “All seafarers onboard the vessel are confirmed to be uninjured,” according to CNN report.
The UK Maritime Security Agency (UKMTO) said it had received a report regarding the incident. Eagle Bulk Shipping stated it was in “close contact with all relevant authorities.”
The Maritime Security Agency said, “Vessels are advised to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO.”
The Houthis took responsibility for the attack, saying they fired a number of “direct” and “accurate” missiles, CNN reported.
Earlier on Monday, the Houthis tried to fire an anti-ship ballistic missile that failed in flight and crashed in Yemen, according to a statement released by US Central Command. No injuries or damage were reported in the incident, US Central Command said.
In a post shared on X, US Central Command stated, “Earlier in the day, at approximately 2 p.m. (Sanaa time), US Forces detected an anti-ship ballistic missile fired towards the Southern Red Sea commercial shipping lanes. The missile failed in flight and impacted land in Yemen. There were no injuries or damage reported.”
Meanwhile, UK-based maritime security group Ambrey said that a total of three missiles were launched towards the Red Sea on Monday, CNN reported. According to the group, two of the three missiles did not reach the sea, and the third one affected a US-owned and operated vessel.
After the US and UK carried out strikes against Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen on Thursday, the Biden administration said the US would defend its assets and interests in the region. Following the strikes, Houthis vowed to retaliate, saying that any US or UK asset would be a “legitimate target.”
Since mid-November, the Houthis have launched approximately 30 attacks toward international shipping lanes, forcing many of the world’s largest shipping companies to avoid the Red Sea.
On Thursday, the US and UK hit 28 separate Houthi sites in an attempt to disrupt the group’s ability to fire on international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The strikes carried out by the US and UK were backed by Canada, Australia, Bahrain, and the Netherlands.
Following the strikes, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the Royal Air Force has conducted targeted strikes against military facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen, calling it “limited, necessary, and proportionate action in self-defence.”
Rishi Sunak said the UK will always stand up for “freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade.” He stated that the Houthis, despite the repeated warnings from the international community, continue to conduct attacks in the Red Sea, including against UK and US warships.
In a statement, Rishi Sunak said, “Despite the repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks in the Red Sea, including against UK and US warships just this week.”
“This cannot stand. The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade. We have therefore taken limited, necessary, and proportionate action in self-defence, alongside the United States and non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada, and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping,” he added.
Rishi Sunak stated that the Royal Navy continues to patrol the Red Sea as part of the multinational Operation Prosperity Guardian to deter further Houthi aggression. He urged the Houthis to cease their attacks and take steps to de-escalate.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said that the targeted strikes were a clear message that the escalation of attacks by the Houthi rebels against commercial vessels would not be tolerated.
In his statement, Biden said these strikes were in direct response to “Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea, including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”
He noted that these attacks have endangered US personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardised trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.
Biden said, “Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels.”
“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation on one of the world’s most critical commercial routes. I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary,” he added.

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