US-owned and operated ship hit by Houthi missile off Aden

A bulk carrier identified as the Marshall Islands-flagged Gibraltar Eagle (IMO 9702508), owned and operated by US-based Eagle Bulk Shipping, was struck by a missile on Monday January 15th in the Gulf of Aden.

The vessel was initially transiting in the westbound lane of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), en route to the Suez Canal. UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) revealed the attack on Monday, stating that the incident took place 95nm south-east of the Yemeni port city of Aden.

The port side of the vessel was hit “from above” by a missile, the UKMTO alert said. UK-based security consultancy Ambrey said that the impact reportedly caused a fire in a hold, although the bulker remained seaworthy. No injuries were reported.

Ambrey has said the vessel was assessed not to be Israel-affiliated.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels did not immediately acknowledge any attack.

Houthi-run Al Masirah TV has cited a source in the rebel group’s naval forces as reiterating that the Houthis would not target commercial shipping not linked to Israel. “Navigation is safe” in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait “except for Israeli ships or those heading to occupied Palestinian ports. We will continue the prevention of Israeli ships or those bound for occupied Palestinian ports until the end of the aggression and siege on Gaza”.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Sunday January 14th fired an anti-ship cruise missile toward USS LaBoon, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating in the southern reaches of the Red Sea, the US military’s Central Command. A US fighter jet shot it down.

All three Houthi or possibly Houthi attacks since the UK/US air and missile strikes on Thursday night have used missiles rather than drones, leading to speculation that either the launch capabilities or the stock of drones had been seriously damaged during the US/UK attacks.

2015-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 36,332 gt Gibraltar Eagle is owned by Gibraltar Eagle LLC care of manager Eagle Shipping International (USA) LLC of Stamford, Connecticut, USA. ISM manager is Eagle Bulk Ship Management Singapore. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Gibraltar Eagle LLC. It had been en route from Pohang in South Korea to the Suez Canal. As of January 8th it had been off the south-west coast of Sri Lanka.