Attacks from Yemen-based Houthi militants on Monday night targeted a UK-linked vessel and a US-linked vessel. The Houthis claimed that both targets were hit.
The UK-managed vessel attacked was general cargo ship Morning Tide (IMO 9320506). It had been travelling southbound after transiting the Suez Canal on February 2nd. As of Tuesday night it was displaying a destination on AIS as “Chinese Owner Ship”.
The ship was targeted while it was about 57 miles west of Hodeidah, north-west Yemen. The captain and crew were reported to have observed small boats approaching, at which point the Morning Tide attempted to take evasive action One of the small boats fired what was assumed to be a missile from only 30 metres away. Debris from the missile hit the ship. There were reports that some of the bridge windows were broken, but none of the crew were injured.
A company official later posted a message saying the explosion “looked like fireworks. It confirmed that no one had been injured and that the ship was continuing on course.
The second vessel targeted, bulk carrier Star Nasia (IMO 9361237) was on the other side of the Bab Al-Mandab strait and had reached the Gulf of Aden. The Greek-owned bulker is managed by Star Bulk Carriers, which is a US-listed company. It was believed to have been carrying a load of American coal.
The Star Nasia reported an explosion about 50 metres away, at the water level. Some reports said that it was believed to be a drone. However, a Greek shipping ministry official told Reuters that it could have been a sea mine instead. The vessel said that it had not suffered any damage and that it was continuing its journey.
Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said that the movement’s forces had “carried out two military operations in the Red Sea, the first targeted the American ship Star Nasia, while the other one targeted the British ship Morning Tide, with suitable naval missiles, and strikes were direct and accurate.”
EUNAVFOR said that these two attacks were the 43rd and 44th since the car carrier Galaxy Leader was hijacked last November.
2006-built, Barbados-flagged, 8,999 gt Morning Tide is owned and managed by Furadino Shipping of London, UK, according to the Equasis database. It was listed as having left Varna, Bulgaria on January 28th.
2006-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 43,158 gt Star Nasia is owned by Star Trident II LLC care of manager Starbulk SA of Athens, Greece. ISM manager is Star Bulk Shipmanagement Co of Limassol, Cyprus. It is entered with Gard for P&I on behalf of Star Trident II LLC and with Gard AS for hull on behalf of Starbulk SA. As of February 6th it was en route from Norfolk, Virginia (departed January 1st) to Visakhapatnam, India, ETA February 17th.