Houthis Continue Strikes with Missiles Toward Tankers and U.S. Destroyer

USS Carney
USS Carney remains in the thick of the fight reporting downing another missile fired in its direction (USN file photo)

Published Jan 26, 2024 12:07 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Houthis continued targeting ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden firing several missiles toward both tankers and a U.S. warship earlier today. This comes despite the efforts by the U.S. and UK to degrade the Houthis' capabilities and as the group vows to continue its attacks until the Palestinians are safe and there is an end to the war in Gaza.

U.S. Central Command reported at midday the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Carney was once again involved in the strikes. They reported that one anti-ship ballistic missile was fired toward the warship from Yemen. The alert says the USS Carney successfully shot down the missile with no injuries or damage, but a Houthi spokesperson on X tried to infer the vessel had been hit.

This latest engagement came as the UK Maritime Trade Organizations and private security firms issued alerts saying two additional missiles were fired with reports from tankers in the Gulf of Aden. UK security consults Ambrey said one of the missiles exploded in the sea a mile or less from a Panama-flagged tanker operating for an Indian company and according to some information carrying a Russian oil product.

UKMTO places the latest explosion approximately 60 nautical miles southwest of Aden, Yemen in the Gulf of Aden. They believe there were two missiles fired. According to the reports, the tankers called for support from the warships in the area with collation forces responding. UKMTO said the tanker that saw the explosions was proceeding to its next port of call.

The recent attacks come as the EUNAVFOR Operation ATLANTA cautioned in its latest update, “The increasing number of ships being targeted, despite no apparent evidence of a link with any of these countries (Israel, the U.S. or UK), underscores the notion that any ship is susceptible to Houthi targeting.”

Previous reports had suggested the Houthis were not targeting tankers. Recent indications however seem that this is no longer the case. 

The same days as the widely reported targeting of the two U.S.-registered Maersk Line, Ltd. vessels, on January 24, EUNAVFOR reports a Liberia-flagged crude oil tanker while in the Southern Red Sea was attacked by two drones. According to the information, the two UAVs dropped onto the water, one at the port side and one aft. There was no damage to the vessel which was continuing its transit.

The more indiscriminate attacks aimed at a wider group of shipping are raising broader concerns in the shipping industry. While it has been widely reported that containerships are avoiding the Red Sea, Lloyd’s List now reports that Suezmax tankers are increasingly rerouting as well. Charter rates are reaching new highs for the tankers. Earlier in the week, QatarEnergy confirmed it was also rerouting LNG carriers warning that there could be delays in shipments while analysts predicted a further spike in the price of energy.