A Norwegian tanker has become the latest commercial vessel struck by a missile launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen.
The impact caused a fire and damage but no casualties, the US military says.
The attack on the tanker STRINDA took place about 100 km north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a US official told Reuters. A second US official said the STRINDA was able to move under its own power in the hours after the attack.
“There were no US ships in the vicinity at the time of the attack, but the (US Navy destroyer) USS MASON responded to the M/T STRINDA’s mayday call and is currently rendering assistance,” the US military’s Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East, said in a statement posted on social media platform X.
The chemical tanker’s Norwegian owner, Mowinckel Chemical Tankers, and manager Hansa Tankers could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Iran-aligned Houthis have waded into the Israel-Hamas conflict – which has spread around the Middle East since October 7 – attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel itself.
More attacks promised
On Saturday, the Houthis said they would target all ships heading to Israel, regardless of their nationality, and warned international shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports.
The STRINDA had loaded vegetable oil and biofuels in Malaysia and was headed for Venice, Italy, data from shiptracking firm Kpler showed.
The group, which rules much of Yemen, says its attacks are a show of support for the Palestinians and has vowed they will continue until Israel stops its offensive on the Gaza Strip – more than 1,000 miles from the Houthi seat of power in Sanaa.
The Houthis are one of several groups in the Iran-aligned “Axis of Resistance” that have been taking aim at Israeli and US targets since their Palestinian ally Hamas attacked Israel.
During the first week of December, three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters, prompting a US Navy destroyer to intervene.
The Houthis also seized last month a British-owned cargo ship that had links with an Israeli company.
The United States and Britain have condemned the attacks on shipping, blaming Iran for its role in supporting the Houthis. Tehran says its allies make their decisions independently.
Saudi Arabia has asked the United States to show restraint in responding to the attacks.