Houthi missiles strike several ships; engine room of MV Tutor flooded while MV Verbena on fire

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A Greek-owned and managed bulk carrier, MV Tutor, is reported to have come under attack by Houthi forces and taking on water in a severely damaged engine room, while the Ukraine-owned MV Verbena was set on fire after being hit by Houthi missiles.

The 82 357-dwt, 229 metre long by 32 metre wide MV Tutor, which was built in 2022, was targeted on Wednesday 12 June by water-borne and aerial drones and missiles while sailing in the Red Sea. Tutor recently called in the Russian port of Ust-Luga and, after discharging her cargo of coal in Port Said, was in the Red Sea en route to India when attacked and damaged.

It is not known if there were any injuries – none have been reported.

Tutor is registered to Livenza Shipping Inc and managed by Evalend Shipping Co SA, in Athens, Greece. The bulk carrier is flagged in Liberia.

Houthi spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The following day, on 13 June, Houthis launched two anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) into the Gulf of Aden. Both missiles struck the MV Verbena, a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated bulk cargo carrier. MV Verbena most recently docked in Malaysia and was enroute to Italy carrying wood construction material.

MV Verbena reported damage and subsequent fires on board. The crew continues to fight the fire. One civilian mariner was severely injured during the attack, US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported.

Aircraft from USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) medically evacuated the injured mariner to a partner force ship nearby for medical attention.

This week several other ships were reported as having been struck by missiles fired from Houthi-held territory.

One of the ships was the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship Norderney, struck by an anti-ship missile on Saturday 8 June, which started a fire that crew were able to quickly extinguish. CENTCOM reported that a second missile also struck the Norderney.

The UKMTO centre also reported this incident which took place in the Gulf of Aden.

A second attack earlier this week involved the Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned-and-operated container ship named MSC Tavvishi which was in the Gulf of Aden at the time. The Houthi’s however, claimed that MSC Tavvishi was attacked in the Arabian Sea.

“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza. The ongoing threat to the ability to safely transit the region caused by the Houthis makes it harder to deliver critical assistance to the people of Yemen as well as to Gaza. US CENTCOM will continue to act with partners to hold the Houthis accountable and degrade their military capabilities,” CENTCOM stated.

On Thursday, CENTCOM said in the past 24 hours it had successfully destroyed one air defence sensor in a Houthi controlled area of Yemen; destroyed one Houthi uncrewed surface vessel and two Houthi patrol boats in the Red Sea; and destroyed one uncrewed aerial system launched from a Houthi controlled area of Yemen over the Red Sea.

The US Defence Intelligence Agency said since mid-February traffic through the Red Sea has dropped off by 90 percent, according to a report released on Thursday.

From November to March, 18 ships have been attacked by Houthi forces, according to the DIA.

Written by Africa Ports & Ships and defenceWeb. The original Africa Ports article can be found here.