Yemen’s Huthi rebels declared responsibility for an assault on a US vessel early Friday, a response to recent US strikes against rebel positions due to their aggressive actions towards ships in the Red Sea region.
Despite the rebels’ assertion of a successful strike on the commercial vessel Chem Ranger in the Gulf of Aden, the US military countered that the missiles had missed their intended target.
In a statement released on social media, the Huthis stated that their “naval forces executed a targeting operation against an American ship,” identifying it as the Chem Ranger. However, they provided no specific details regarding the time or further particulars of the incident in the international shipping lanes.
The US Central Command, overseeing the Middle East, confirmed the event, reporting that the Huthis “launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at M/V Chem Ranger.” Fortunately, the crew witnessed the missiles hitting the water near the ship, resulting in no reported injuries or damage.
Ongoing Huthi aggression in the Red Sea has prompted retaliatory strikes by US and British forces in Yemen, with the latest US attack reported on Thursday. The Chem Ranger, identified as a Marshall Island-flagged, US-owned, Greek-operated tanker, was reportedly traveling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Kuwait, according to the specialized website Marine Traffic.
In response to the incident, British maritime risk management company Ambrey mentioned that an Indian warship intervened, ensuring the safety of the vessel. The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) also reported an incident in the same area, affirming that the vessel and crew are safe and proceeding to the next port.
The Huthis, who have frequently targeted ships in the waters surrounding Yemen since the Gaza conflict erupted, justified their actions as a response to the “oppression of the Palestinian people” and “American-British aggression against our country.”
As international tensions escalate, China and Russia have called for an end to Red Sea shipping harassment. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson urged the cessation of “harassment” for the maintenance of global trade order, while Russia advocated for a diplomatic resolution and the cessation of US strikes against the Huthis.
In light of the Huthi attacks, major shipping firms have altered routes, and Denmark has announced its participation in the coalition supporting air strikes against the rebels, aligning with the US and UK efforts in the region.