US shoots down 4 drones launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen
"These attacks represent the 14th and 15th attacks on commercial shipping by Houthi militants since 17 October," CENTCOM wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Houthis, who control much of Yemen, have disrupted world trade for weeks with attacks on ships passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea in what they say is a response to Israel's indiscriminate war on Gaza, which has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians.
The US Naval Forces Central Command responded to distress calls from two ships under attack, CENTCOM said.
On December 23 two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles were fired into international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen. No ships reported being impacted by the ballistic missiles.— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 24, 2023
Between 3 and 8 p.m. (Sanaa time), the USS LABOON (DDG… pic.twitter.com/jcBisbXBaS
The Norwegian-flagged, owned and operated chemical/oil tanker Blaamanen reported a near miss in a Houthi drone attack, while a Gabon-owned, Indian-flagged crude oil tanker reported being hit by a one-way attack, CENTCOM wrote on X.
The Indian tanker was sailing in front of the Norwegian ship when it was hit by the drone, Blaamanen's operator Hansa Tankers said in a statement on Sunday.
"Owing to the close vicinity our master alerted the US Navy which came to the scene, offering protection," the company said.
The Norwegian tanker transporting non-flammable vegetable oil from Europe to India and its crew were safe and proceeded as planned, Hansa Tankers added.
Two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles were also "fired into international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen", it said. "No ships reported being impacted by the ballistic missiles."
The U.K. Maritime Trade Operations agency earlier reported that an uncrewed aerial system had exploded near a vessel in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, 45 nautical miles southwest of Saleef, Yemen.
The United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian three days ago, saying more than a dozen countries had agreed to participate in an effort that will involve joint patrols in Red Sea waters near Yemen.
The Sanaa-based group has obstructed their passage through the strait.