Updated: Merchant Sailors Killed, Injured After Houthi Gulf of Aden Attack

March 6, 2024 12:36 PM - Updated: March 6, 2024 6:05 PM
Undated photo M/V True Confidence. Vessel Finder Image

Three merchant sailors are dead and four others are injured after a missile hit Greek-operated ship M/V True Confidence in an attack claimed by the Houthis.

True Confidence was hit approximately 50 nautical miles off the Yemeni port Aden, Reuters reported. The ship had 20 crew members aboard as well as three armed guards. True Confidence sails under a Barbados flag.

The crew abandoned the ship following the attack while coalition warships responded and are assessing, according to a Central Command release. The release did not indicate which warships were involved in the response.

This is the first time merchant sailors have died since the Houthis began firing missiles and drones at ships in the Red Sea in protest over Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. M/V Rubymar, a British-owned ship sank March 2 after being hit by a Houthi missile on Feb. 18.

International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez called for collective action to protect mariners following the strike on True Confidence. 

“International trade depends on international shipping and international shipping cannot go on without seafarers,” Dominguez said in a statement.

He thanked ships in the area who helped the crew and True Confidence.

“Innocent seafarers should never become collateral victims…We all need to do more to protect seafarers,” he said in the statement.

True Confidence is owned by Liberian company True Confidence Shipping SA and operated by Third January Maritime LTD, a Greek company, BBC reported.

Prior to the attack, the ship had been hailed by a group claiming to be the Yemeni Navy and ordered to change course, according to the BBC. 

Houthi spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e took to social media site X to claim credit for the attack. In the post, Sare’e claimed the ship was American.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces persist in upholding their religious, moral and humanitarian duties in supporting the oppressed Palestinian people, and their operations in the Red and Arab Seas will not stop until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted,” Sare’e said in his post, according to a translation.

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.
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