Ballistic Missile Destroys Cargo Ship In Red Sea

( – On Dec. 15, a cargo ship in the Red Sea was set ablaze after being struck by a ballistic missile near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

The cargo ship, identified as the Liberian-flagged MSC Palatium III, was struck after a missile was fired from Yemen’s rebel-held territory. The projectile hit the port side of the cargo ship, causing one container to fall overboard and “fire on deck,” according to the private intelligence firm Ambrey. The cargo ship turned around after the attack, and data showed it was attempting to head south.

The missile’s target was apparently another cargo ship, Al Jasrah, which was also struck by a projectile earlier Dec. 15. Al Jasrah, operated by the German-based shipper Hapag-Lloyd, stated that there were no injuries from the attack.

Another ship, the Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company’s Alanya, was also warned by the Houthis around the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, according to Ambrey.

The attacks mark an escalation of the maritime campaign by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Houthis say the goal of the attacks is to stop the Israeli air-and-ground offensive that targets Hamas in Gaza.

In a statement that claimed responsibility for the Dec. 15 attacks, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said Yemeni armed forces “will continue to prevent” ships that are “heading to Israeli ports from navigating in the Red Sea” until food and medicine are brought to Gaza. He claimed the Palatium III and the Alanya, and not the Al Jasrah, were the targets of the Houthis.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which monitors Mideast shipping lanes, warned vessels in the area to exercise caution. The area is a vital corridor for energy and cargo shipments heading to Asia and Europe from the Suez Canal out into the Indian Ocean.

Following the Dec. 15 attacks, the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, told all of its ships planning to pass through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait to pause their trips until further notice.

Copyright 2023,