Houthis Shoot Drones, Missiles at American-Owned Bulk Carriers

February 21, 2024 5:46 PM
The Nile River, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea are contrasted by the desert nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan on June 19, 2019. NASA Photo

The Houthis fired missiles and drones at two U.S.-owned bulk carriers earlier this week, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.

On Feb. 19, the Houthis first fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles at MV Sea Champion, which was sailing under a Greek flag. One missile exploded near the ship, causing minor damage. The ship was able to continue sailing, according to the Central Command release.

The ship was allegedly carrying grain to Yemen.

On the same day, the Houthis fired a drone at MV Navis Fortuna, causing minor damage. The ship, a U.S.-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, was able to continue its journey to Italy.

The attacks on the two U.S. ships come after the Houthis struck MV Rubymar, a British-owned ship, which took on water after the attack. The ship’s crew was taken to a port by another merchant ship, USNI News reported.

Between Feb. 19-20, U.S. Central Command forces, which included unidentified warships, destroyed a surface-to-air missile launcher and a drone, and show down 10 unmanned aerial vehicles.

USS Laboon (DDG-58) also shot down an anti-ship cruise missile headed toward the destroyer, according to the Central Command release.

Houthi leadership has continued to say that it’s firing on ships in retaliation for American and British strikes or in protest of the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

“What the world is impatiently awaiting is not the militarization of the Red Sea, but rather an urgent and comprehensive declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza for humanitarian reasons that are clear to anyone. The Israeli entity would not have continued its crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza had it not been for this blind support by the Americans, the British, and some European,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on social media site X.

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

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox