HomeTop StoriesThe Houthis just scored their first drone boat hit on a Red...

The Houthis just scored their first drone boat hit on a Red Sea ship

  • The Houthis attacked a commercial ship with an unmanned surface vessel on Wednesday.

  • It is the first time the rebels have scored a hit with a USV during their ongoing attacks on the Red Sea.

  • Previous attempts were unsuccessful.

The Houthis used an unmanned surface vessel to attack a commercial vessel in the Red Sea on Wednesday, the US military revealed.

The Iran-backed rebels have deployed USVs, also known as naval drones or drone boats, as part of their attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, but have so far failed to actually land a hit to score.

The suspected explosives-laden ship struck the M/V Tutor, a Greek-owned Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, the US Central Command said, noting in its statement on the incident that “tThe impact of the USV caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room.”

Ahead of the release of the CENTCOM statement, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of the British Royal Navy, posted an incident bulletin earlier on Wednesday saying a “small vessel” had struck a ship off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea . . It described the vessel as white in color and between 5 and 7 meters in length.

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The UKMTO later said the ship was “taking on water, and not under the command of the crew”. In a follow-up update, it said the ship was “hit for a second time by an unknown aerial projectile” and “military authorities are assisting.”

The current status of the affected ship is unclear.

An official from maritime security company Ambrey told The War Zone, which first reported the incident, that the Tutor is a “dead ship” and will require “salvage operations.”

The Houthis have deployed USVs in recent years, although the rebels only began actually using the drones earlier this year as part of their months-long attacks on shipping lanes.

Wednesday’s attack marks the first successful attack by a Houthi USV during the campaign. Prior to this incident, the drone boats were either destroyed by Western forces or detonated in the water without hitting anything.

In addition to USVs, the Houthis have relied on their extensive arsenal of anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as several drones for one-way strikes, to wreak havoc off the coast of Yemen. Since the fall, the rebels have used these weapons to bomb a number of commercial ships. It sank one and killed the other crew members.

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Over the weekend, the Houthis hit two commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden with anti-ship missiles. However, in both incidents the ships managed to continue sailing. The Tutor is the latest attack.

The series of attacks comes after the Pentagon recently expanded the deployment of the US Navy carrier strike group fighting the Houthis, while US intelligence officials warn the conflict could continue for some time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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