US Central Command forces conducted strikes against three Houthi anti-ship missiles on Friday January 19th. The US said that the missiles were aimed into the Southern Red Sea and had been prepared to launch.
“US forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defence,” the US Central Command said in the post on X-formerly-Twitter.
The incident took place around 18:45 local time (15:45 GMT).
US President Biden had said on Thursday that the air strikes would continue, but acknowledged that they might not be halting the Houthi attacks.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said the strikes on Friday were the fourth in the past week by the US military against Houthi missile launchers that were prepared to launch attacks.
The Houthis have promised to continue their attacks on ships linked to the UK, US or Israel. On Thursday there were two incidents targeting American ships, including a second approach to the GENCO bulker Genco Picardy (IMO 9301720).
CENTCOM only confirmed the two missiles fired at the tankship Chem Ranger (IMO 9490296), a US-owned, Greek-managed chemical tanker sailing from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Kuwait. The report said the missiles were observed impacting the water near the ship without damage.
The second vessel targeted was later listed as the Genco Picardy, that was also targeted the previous night and struck by a drone. The Indian Navy reported that they had inspected the ship on Thursday to ensure that there were no explosives aboard and that it was continuing its voyage. Later Thursday, the Houthis again targeted the ship with four drones and one was seen exploding 800 meters from the vessel. The ship’s AIS signal now shows the Genco Picardy heading to the port at Tuticorin, India.
Of interest was the fact that these incidents both happened in the Gulf of Aden, perhaps indicating that the recent US strikes had caused a shift from the southern Red Sea. The first US / UK attack on more than a dozen targets with 60 separate attacks struck infrastructure including radar.
The EU mission in the region, Atalanta, reports that with the two attacks on Thursday, a total of 40 merchant vessels have now been targeted. They also reflect several additional incidents of drones shot down in the Red Sea without a specific target.
Meanwhile, footage posted online allegedly showed the moment an Iranian ballistic missile fired by Houthi militia struck Greek-owned, Maltese-flagged bulk carrier Zografia (IMO 9486013) last week in the Southern Red Sea.
The ship, which was in ballast, was heading northbound from Vietnam to Israel when the attack occurred on January 16th about 100nm northwest of Saleef, Yemen. Following a large explosion at the bow, the footage shows crew members on deck running away from the blast. Surprisingly, there were no injuries.
2005-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 31,264 gt Genco Picardy is owned by Genco Picardy Ltd care of Genco Ship Management LLC of New York City. ISM manager is GS Shipmanagement Ovt Ltd of Chennai, India. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Western Europe) on behalf of Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. As of January 13th it had been listed as “Stopped” in the Red Sea.
2010-built, Malta-flagged, 33,036 gt Zografia is owned by Bonneure Shipping Corp care of manager Vulcanus Technical Maritime Enterprises SA of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Piraeus) on behalf of Vulcanus Technical Maritime Enterprises SA. As of January 20th the vessel was at Suez South Anchorage.
2010-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 16,433 Chem Ranger is owned by lantern Maritime Co care of Interunity Management Corp Sa of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Lantern Management Co. Gard is claims leader for Loss of Hire and Hull on behalf of Interunity Management Corp SA. As of January 16th the vessel was en route from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia departed January 13th) to Kuwait (ETA January 25th).