Houthi Rebels Launch Boat-Borne Bomb Attack on Greek-Owned Ship in Red Sea

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have escalated tensions in the Red Sea by launching a boat-borne bomb attack against a commercial vessel. The attack, which occurred on Wednesday, targeted the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier Tutor. This incident underscores ongoing threats to maritime security in the region despite a U.S.-led campaign aimed at safeguarding this critical waterway.

The Houthis, who have been engaged in a prolonged conflict with a Saudi-led coalition since seizing Yemen’s capital nearly a decade ago, claimed responsibility for the attack. Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, a military spokesperson for the Houthis, stated that the assault involved a “drone boat” along with drones and ballistic missiles. The attack has drawn comparisons to the 2000 USS Cole bombing, highlighting the continued use of boat-borne explosives.

Reports from the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center indicated that the Tutor was hit in its stern by a small white craft southwest of Hodeida, a port city under Houthi control. The vessel’s captain reported significant damage, with the ship taking on water and not under the crew’s command. Additionally, the vessel was struck a second time by an unknown airborne projectile.

This attack is part of a broader pattern of Houthi aggression in the Red Sea, especially amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Houthis claim their attacks are in support of Palestinians and aimed at halting the war. However, the vessels targeted often have no connection to the conflict. Since November, the Houthis have executed over 50 attacks on shipping, resulting in the deaths of three sailors, the seizure of one vessel, and the sinking of another, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The incident occurred as U.S. Navy personnel, including Cmdr. Eric Blomberg of the USS Laboon, monitored the situation. The USS Laboon and other U.S. naval assets, including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, have been active in the region, providing security and responding to Houthi attacks.

Cmdr. Blomberg emphasized that the targeted vessel was not related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, reiterating that the Houthis often strike vessels unrelated to U.S. or Israeli interests. These attacks typically impact innocent merchant sailors transporting goods through the Red Sea, utilizing the least-expensive routes and subsequently facing significant dangers.

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