Three Houti Boats Sunk, Crew shot Dead in Red Sea by U.S. Helicopters

The Yemeni Houtis were attempting to board a container ship in the Red Sea which had been struck by a missile
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  • 02:04 PM, December 31, 2023
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Three Houti Boats Sunk, Crew shot Dead in Red Sea by U.S. Helicopters
MH-60R Sea Hawk of the U.S.Centcom Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron @DVIDS image

Three boats sent by Yemeni Houtis to board the MV Maersk Hangzhou were gunned down and their crew killed by U.S. Navy helicopters while transiting the Red Sea on December 31.

The helicopters were sent from USS Graveley and USS Eisenhower who responded to a distress call by the container ship. The night before the same container vessel was struck by a missile fired from Yemen.

A U.S. Centcom statement said: On Dec. 31 at 6:30am (Sanaa time) the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting being under attack by four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats.

The small boats, originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, fired crew served and small arms weapons at the MAERSK HANGZHOU, getting to within 20 meters of the vessel, and attempted to board the vessel.

A contract embarked security team on the MAERSK HANZGHOU returned fire. U.S. helicopters from the USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and GRAVELY (DDG 107) responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats, the small boats fired upon the U.S. helicopters with crew served weapons and small arms.

The U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area.

Three Houti Boats Sunk, Crew shot Dead in Red Sea by U.S. Helicopters
container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU

Yesterday at approximately 8:30 p.m. (Sanaa time), the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU reported that they were struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea. The Singapore-flagged, Denmark-owned/operated container ship requested assistance, and the USS GRAVELY (DDG 107) and USS LABOON (DDG 58) have responded to the ship.

The vessel is reportedly seaworthy and there are no reported injuries. While responding, the USS GRAVELY shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships.

This is the 23rd attack by the Houthis on international shipping since Nov. 19.

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