Two vessels catch fire in the Gulf of Aden after 'unknown projectiles' strike

No casualties were reported in either attack

Elbella container ship is one of the vessels that is believed to have been struck.  Photo: Eduard Marmet
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Fires were reported on two vessels off the coast of Yemen, after being hit by “projectiles”, the UK's Maritime Trade Operations said on Sunday.

The first incident in the Red Sea took place at 8pm Co-ordinated Universal Time, 80 nautical miles south-east of Yemen's interim capital Aden, UKMTO said, after the ship's crew reported a projectile struck the vessel.

“A small fire was contained in the mooring station and now reported extinguished. All crew are reported safe and the vessel is now proceeding to its next port call.”

The Elbella is one of the vessels reportedly struck.

British security firm Ambrey confirmed to Reuters that an Antigua-and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship was struck 83 nautical miles south-east of Aden and caught fire.

“The ship was heading south-west along the Gulf of Aden at a speed of 8.2 knots when the forward station was struck by a missile. A fire started but was neutralised,” Ambrey said.

“A second missile was sighted but did not hit the ship. Persons on board small boats in the vicinity opened fire on the ship during the incident.”

A second incident was reported, 70 nautical miles south-west of Aden three hours after the initial strike. “The vessel was hit by an unknown projectile on the aft section, which resulted in a fire,” UKMTO said.

“Damage control is under way.”

There were no casualties in the attack.

Houthi rebels have begun striking ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November, in support of Palestinians in Gaza, but have not claimed either attack.

They have repeatedly said they will not stop carrying out strikes on maritime shipping until Israel stops its aggression in Gaza.

The Iran-backed rebel group has been ramping up its activities in the Red Sea and a US-UK coalition has been hitting back, striking areas in Yemen which it claims are being used to fuel the sea attacks.

Most recently, the Houthis blamed the western forces for carrying out air strikes on Hodeidah Airport and the Salif port to the north of the country.

Updated: June 09, 2024, 5:49 AM