US navy shoots down two missiles and a third lands in sea as Iran-aligned group continues strikes against Red Sea shipping
Two ships sailing close to the Gulf of Aden were forced to seek the support of the US navy after explosions were heard nearby, as the Houthi group kept up their assault on commercial shipping off the coast of Yemen.
The Houthis have said their attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians as Israel bombards Gaza. The ships belonging to the US subsidiary of Danish shipping company Maersk were carrying US military supplies when they came under attack from three anti-ship missiles near the Bab el-Mandeb strait. The US central command (Centcom) said two missiles were shot down, and a third landed in the sea. No damage was caused either to the Maersk Detroit or the Maersk Chesapeake and no injuries were reported, Centcom said.
Maersk said in a statement: “En route, both ships reported seeing explosions close by and the US navy accompaniment also intercepted multiple projectiles. The crew, ship and cargo are safe and unharmed. The US navy has turned both ships around and is escorting them back to the Gulf of Aden.”
Maersk said its US subsidiary was now suspending Red Sea transits. “The safety of our crews is of utmost importance. Following the escalation of risk, MLL [Maersk Line Limited] is suspending transits in the region until further notice” the spokesperson said.
Both commercial vessels carry cargo for the US government and are enrolled in programs run by the defence department to transport forces, supplies and equipment during times of war or national emergency, which is why they were escorted through the strait.
Date: 24 Jan 2024
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