Houthis Launch New Attacks in Gulf of Aden Hours After US-UK Strikes

Gulf of Aden
First response attack appears to be south of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden (UKMTO)

Published Jan 12, 2024 12:25 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Houthi rebels resumed launching missiles and mounting their attacks only hours after the forces of the U.S. and UK struck at their capabilities. While ships are being warned to use caution and avoid the Bab el-Mandeb in the immediate aftermath of last night’s strikes, reports are coming in of an attack in the Gulf of Aden.

The UK Maritime Trade Organizations issued an alert of an attack and approach approximately 90 nautical miles southeast of Aden, Yemen. No details were provided on what type of vessel might have been involved, but the UKMTO said the ship is proceeding on its voyage without reporting any injuries or damage.

The unidentified ship reported a missile landed in the water approximately 400 to 500 meters away. They said the missile was followed by three small crafts. The vessel appears to have had no further interaction and was on course for its next port.

Both UK security consultants Ambrey and TankerTrackers.com are reporting it was a laden crude oil tanker. Ambrey speculates that the Houthi were using out of date information which linked the tanker to the UK.

UKMTO reported later in the day that it had been advised by several ships that there were small boats operating in the area south of Yemen. There were multiple approaches they said approximately 80 nautical miles south of Aden including one vessel which was followed by two small boats for over an hour. No weapons were seen, and the boats have not interfered with navigation.

Earlier the Houthi released a series of statements saying the “American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression against the Yemeni people. This aggression will not go unanswered.”

The Houthis are threatening targets both on land and sea.  In another posting, a spokesperson threatened “America and Britain will undoubtedly have to prepare to pay a heavy price.”

Today’s actions are similar to a report from U.S. Centcom yesterday that early on January 11, a commercial vessel “reported visually observing the missile impact the water.” This attack also took place south of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel in question reported no injuries or damage and was proceeding.

The Combined Military Force earlier today cautioned all shipping to remain away from the Bab el-Mandeb strait for the time being while they worked to assess the damage from last night’s strikes and possible responses from the Houthi. Security firms and industry trade groups have also extended the caution to the Gulf of Aden while UKMTO is telling ships to follow guidance from the industry and flag states to maintain their safety.

“The full impact and effectiveness of these airstrikes are still being assessed,” wrote security consultancy Dryad Global earlier today. They were advising refraining from entering or operating in the Red Sea near Yemen and the Gulf of Aden for a minimum of 72 hours.