The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported a series of attacks on three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea, with the Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS CARNEY responding to distress calls and providing assistance.
Notably, the CARNEY itself survived an anti-ship missile strike and engaged unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.
The first incident occurred at approximately 9:15 a.m. Sanaa time when the CARNEY detected an anti-ship ballistic missile attack fired from Houthi-controlled areas toward the M/V UNITY EXPLORER, a Bahamas-flagged, U.K.-owned bulk cargo ship. The missile impacted in the vicinity of the vessel, prompting a swift response from the CARNEY, which was conducting a patrol in the Red Sea.
At around 12 p.m., the CARNEY engaged and successfully shot down a UAV launched from Houthi-controlled areas. The drone was headed toward the CARNEY, although the specific target remains unclear. Fortunately, there was no damage to the U.S. vessel or injuries to personnel.
In a separate attack at approximately 12:35 p.m., the UNITY EXPLORER reported being struck by a missile from Houthi-controlled areas. The CARNEY responded to the distress call, and while assisting with damage assessment, detected another inbound UAV. The drone was successfully destroyed with no damage or injuries to either the CARNEY or UNITY EXPLORER. The latter reported minor damage from the missile strike.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., the M/V NUMBER 9, a Panamanian-flagged, Bermuda and U.K.-owned bulk carrier, was struck by a missile from Houthi-controlled areas while operating in international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The vessel reported damage but no casualties.
Later, at around 4:30 p.m., the M/V SOPHIE II, a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier crewed by sailors from eight countries, sent a distress call after being struck by a missile. The CARNEY, once again, responded promptly and reported no significant damage. While en route to provide support, the CARNEY shot down a UAV heading in its direction.
These attacks have raised concerns about the direct threat posed to international commerce and maritime security, jeopardizing the lives of crews from multiple countries. U.S. CENTCOM believes these attacks, launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.
The United States has expressed its commitment to considering all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners.