Oil tanker on fire after Houthi missile attack, firm says
An oil tanker ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, according to its operator, resulted from a missile strike claimed by the Houthis.
The Marlin Luanda was targeted by the Houthis on Friday evening, as reported by the movement.
Trafigura, the operator, informed the BBC that the strike ignited a fire in one of the vessel’s cargo tanks, prompting the use of firefighting equipment to manage the situation.
US officials, speaking to the BBC’s US partner CBS, indicated that the tanker was struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile and that a naval vessel was dispatched to respond to its distress call.
According to US officials, no injuries were reported in the incident.
This marks the latest assault on commercial shipping by the Houthis within the Red Sea vicinity.
The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) detailed the occurrence as taking place 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden.
UKMTO noted the presence of warships offering assistance to the vessel and confirmed the safety of all crew members.
Vessels were cautioned to exercise vigilance and report any suspicious activities, as advised by UKMTO.
Trafigura confirmed the vessel had been struck and military ships were on their way to assist.
“Firefighting equipment on board is being deployed to suppress and control the fire caused in one cargo tank on the starboard side,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.
“The safety of the crew is our foremost priority. We remain in contact with the vessel and are monitoring the situation carefully.”
The oil tanker is flagged with the Marshall Islands.
Houthi military spokesman Yaha Sarea said the group used “several appropriate naval missiles” and Friday’s strike was “direct”.
It follows an earlier incident on Friday in which the UKMTO reported that two missiles were in the water near a vessel located southwest of Aden.
Since November, the Iran-backed Houthis have launched dozens of attacks on commercial vessels traveling through the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is fighting Hamas.
The US and UK have launched air strikes on the group in response to its attacks, prompting the Houthis to warn they would increase their attacks on shipping.
The UK and US are also targeting the Iran-backed militant group with sanctions to cut off its financial resources.