An oil tanker, the Marlin Luanda, is ablaze in the Gulf of Aden following a missile strike claimed by the Houthi movement, according to the vessel’s operator, Trafigura. The strike ignited a fire in one of the ship’s cargo tanks, which is currently being contained by onboard firefighting equipment. US officials confirmed the tanker was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile and a naval ship is responding to its distress signal. No injuries have been reported.
This attack is the latest in a series of Houthi assaults on commercial shipping in and around the Red Sea. The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) stated that the incident occurred 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden and that warships were assisting the vessel. The UKMTO also advised other vessels to proceed with caution and report any suspicious activity.
Trafigura confirmed that military ships were en route to assist the vessel. “The safety of the crew is our foremost priority. We remain in contact with the vessel and are monitoring the situation carefully,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.
Houthi military spokesman Yaha Sarea stated that the strike was “direct” and carried out using “a number of appropriate naval missiles.” This follows an earlier incident on Friday where two missiles were reported in the water near a vessel southwest of Aden.
The Iran-backed Houthis have been launching attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea since November, in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. In response, the US and UK have conducted air strikes on the group and imposed sanctions to cut off its financial resources.