U.K., American Warships Shoot Down Houthi-Launched Drones in Red Sea

December 16, 2023 10:20 PM - Updated: December 18, 2023 10:42 AM
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, Oct. 19, 2023. US Navy Photo

British and American warships shot down suspected Houthi-launched drones as attacks in the Red Sea against merchant ships continue for the third straight day.

USS Carney (DDG-64) shot down 14 drones launched Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, U.S. Central Command announced Saturday. It is unclear if the drones were headed toward a commercial ship. The drones were one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the Central Command statement, posted on social media site X.

On Saturday, Houthi military forces launched a drone barrage in the direction of Israeli resort city, Eilat, also known by Palestinian name Umm Al-Rashrash. It is not clear if Carney shot down any of the drones heading toward Israel.

It would not be the first time a U.S. warship shot down drones heading to Israel from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. Carney shot down a number of Houthi drones and three land-attack missiles headed toward Israel in October, USNI News previously reported. Central Command did not say which weapons system Carney used this time.

HMS Diamond (D34) also shot down a drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, the United Kingdom defence secretary shared via X.

Diamond used a Sea Viper missile to fire down the drone, which was attacking merchant shipping, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said in the post.

“The recent spate of illegal attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security in the Red Sea,” Shapps said in the post. “The U.K. remains committed to repelling these attacks to protect the free flow of global trade.”

Merchant shipping continues to be under attack in the Red Sea, with the Houthi military saying it will attack any ship linked to Israel or heading to or from the country.

In response, shipping companies have begun to pause ships heading through the Red Sea or reroute them around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

MSC, which had two ships attacked by Houthis Friday, announced Saturday that it would stop sending ships through the Suez Canal, with some ships being rerouted around Cape of Good Hope.

Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk also paused shipping in the Red Sea. In a statement to USNI News, Maersk spokesman Mikkel Linnet said that the pause comes after two MSC ships were attacked in the Red Sea.

“We are deeply concerned about the highly escalated security situation in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” Linnet said in a statement. “The recent attacks on commercial vessels in the area are alarming and pose a significant threat to the safety and security of seafarers.”

A Houthi spokesperson said on Telegram that the Houthis are in mediated talks through Oman about Red Sea operations. The Houthis plan to continue their operations in order to support Palestinians in Gaza, Mohammed Abdulsalam said via Telegram, according to a translation.

“In various meetings, it was emphasized that Yemen’s position with Gaza is not subject to negotiation, and that enemy ships or those heading to its ports will remain vulnerable to targeting until the aggression stops, the siege on Gaza is lifted, and humanitarian aid continues to flow into the Strip,” Abdulsalam said on Telegram.


Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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