31 December 2023






2 mins

The 353 m container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a distress call after  she was fired at by the Houthi boats, which came as close as 20m (65 feet) and also tried to board it, CENTCOM said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

As the US helicopters responded, they were also shot at by the Houthi boats, prompting them to return fire, added the CENTCOM statement.


It was the second alleged Houthi attack on the mother ship MAERSK HANGZHOU in less than 24 hours. Late on Saturday night, CENTCOM said it shot down 2 ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis as it responded to a separate missile strike on the container ship.

In the wake of the attacks, global shipping giant Maersk, which owns the vessel, said it was suspending its operations in the Red Sea for 48 hours, highlighting the continued threat to commercial vessels in the region.

The United States military says it has sunk three boats waging an attack on the container ship in the Red Sea as it continues its patrol mission to counter threats from Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Helicopters from two US warships – the aircraft carrier USS DWIGHT D.EISENHOWER CVN 69 and the Guided Missile Destroyer  USS GRAVELY DDG 107 shot at the “Iranian-backed Houthi small boats” in self-defence on Sunday morning while responding to an SOS call from the SGP flag container ship , the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said. The US helicopters sunk three of the boats, killing several of their crew, it said. A fourth boat escaped.

Red Sea attacks

Amid Israel’s war on Gaza, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have repeatedly targeted vessels they believe are linked to Israel travelling in the Red Sea, pushing major global shipping companies, such as Maersk, to abandon the waterway. The Houthis have said they will continue their strikes until Israel’s attacks on Gaza stop.


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