Escalating Tensions: Missile Attack Damages Crude Oil Tanker off Yemeni Coast

Source: Teachers © - ShipSpotting 

In the latest episode of escalating tensions in the volatile region, a crude oil tanker fell victim to a missile attack off the coast of Yemen. The assailants, identified as the Houthis, targeted the Panama-flagged vessel approximately 15 nautical miles southwest of the Yemeni city of Mocha.

Reports from the British maritime security agency UKMTO detail that the tanker was struck twice, causing damage but fortunately resulting in no injuries or fatalities. The incident is under investigation as maritime authorities seek to ascertain the full extent of the damage and the circumstances surrounding the attack.

According to UKMTO, the first missile caused an explosion near the ship, followed by a second strike, which was believed to involve two missiles making contact with the vessel. Global risk management firm Ambrey corroborated these accounts, adding that three missiles were sighted during the attack.

The Houthis, who have claimed responsibility for the assault, reportedly fired ballistic missiles from Yemen's southwestern Taiz governate. In a televised speech, the group's military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, stated that the targeted vessel, identified as the "Andromeda Star," suffered a "direct hit."

Confirming the vessel's identity, US Central Command noted that the Andromeda Star sustained minor damage and could continue its voyage. Ambrey revealed that the UK owned the tanker until November 2023, and it is currently owned by a Seychelles-registered company engaged in Russia-linked trade.

The attack underscores the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the region, with the Houthis targeting vessels they perceive as affiliated with countries such as the US and the UK. Since November, the rebel group has conducted a series of attacks on ships they allege are linked to Israel, citing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

In response to Houthi aggression, the US and the UK have carried out targeted strikes on Houthi positions within Yemen, further escalating tensions. These retaliatory measures have prompted the rebels to target merchant vessels in the Red Sea, causing disruptions to maritime trade routes.

The implications of these attacks extend beyond regional borders, with many shipping companies reconsidering their use of the Red Sea route, which accounts for approximately 12% of global seaborne trade. As the situation evolves, ship owners and operators are urged to exercise caution and remain vigilant in navigating these tricky waters.

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