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Video: Houthis Show Methods Used to Sink the Bulker Tutor

Tutor bulker explosion
Screen grab from Houthi video of attacks on Tutor

Published Jun 19, 2024 8:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The Houthis released a propaganda video on social media showing the attacks on the bulker Tutor which was lost on Tuesday a week after the vessel was struck. In addition to showing the attacks, it appears to show that they hastened the demise of the vessel, something that was also rumored but not confirmed for the Rubymar in March.

According to the statement from the Houthi military forces, they warned Evalendar Shipping that it had violated their ban on ships calling in Israeli ports. The Houthis contend that the Greek company’s vessel Shimanami Star (28,500 dwt and registered in the Bahamas) had made a port call in Haifa on an unspecified date. They are also reporting that the Tutor turned off its AIS signal while it was in the Red Sea, a commonly followed practice by many vessels. 

“During its passage from the Red Sea, several naval weapons were used to target and sink the ship Tutor, including weapons used for the first time. We call on all shipping companies to take our warnings seriously, otherwise, they will bear full responsibility for the safety of ships and crews,” the Houthi military said in its statement.

 

 

The small boat can be seen approaching the vessel and the video captures the moment of impact. 

Security consultants Ambrey in its Threat Circular last week described the attacks as being carried out with a fishing boat that is 5 to 7 meters (16 to 23 feet) in length and made of fiberglass or wood. The Houthis placed dummy figures in the boat in an attempt to disguise the threat. Ambrey writes that in past incidents a second skiff was in the area and believed to be controlling the radio-controlled vessel.

One of the attack boats washed up near the Bab al Mandeb Strait in January 2024. Ambrey reports it was found they said to contain 25 kg of C4 explosives and 50 kg of TNT. It had three electronic switches using contact switches for the detonation.

The video also shows a second explosion on the port side of the vessel which is consistent with the reports. However, viewers are asking if it was a second drone boat and not a missile or “unknown projectile” as described in the reports from the vessel and U.S. Central Command.

The Tutor was abandoned by the crew on Friday, June 14. U.S. and French forces coordinated the evacuation of the crew while salvage vessels were due to reach the bulker at the beginning of this week.

At the end of the Houthi video, the bulker is seen low at the stern which is consistent with the reports that its engine room was flooded. However, then there is a ring of explosions around the stern of the vessel raising the question of whether the Houthi set off additional charges to hasten the sinking. There were reports in March that a small boat was seen near the Rubymar which had been in a similar situation to the Tutor, drifting and sinking at the stern. Hours later videos showed the Rubymar plunging below the Red Sea.

CENTCOM reports that U.S. forces continued their efforts to target control capabilities after last week’s attacks. In the past 24 hours, they are saying forces destroyed two Houthi uncrewed surface vessels in the Red Sea similar to the one used on the Tutor. Separately, CENTCOM forces successfully destroyed one ground control station and one command and control node in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.