Ship off Yemen’s coast damaged in suspected Houthi missile attack

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Missile attacks twice damaged a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned ship Tuesday in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, with a private security firm saying radio traffic suggested the vessel took on water after being struck.

No group has claimed responsibility, but suspicion falls on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have launched a number of attacks targeting ships over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The first attack on the bulk carrier Laax happened off the port city of Hodeida in the southern Red Sea, near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links it to the Gulf of Aden, according to the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center. The vessel “sustained damage” in the assault and later reported an “impact in the water in close proximity to the vessel,” the UKMTO says.

“The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” the center says.

The private security firm Ambrey says the vessel reported by radio of having “sustained damage to the cargo hold and was taking on water.”

Late Tuesday night, the UKMTO reported the Laax “sustained further damage” in a second missile attack near Mokha in the Bab el-Mandeb.

The US military’s Central Command also identified the targeted ship as the Laax. The vessel reported being headed to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Grehel Ship Management of Piraeus, Greece, manages the Laax. A man who answered the phone at Grehel declines to answer questions about the attack and an emailed request for comment hasn’t been returned.

Central Command separately says it destroyed five Houthi drones over the Red Sea amid the attacks.

The Houthis don’t immediately acknowledge the attack, though it can take the rebels hours or even days to claim their assaults.

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