MSC vessel at berth, aerial view

In a significant escalation in Houthi attacks on merchant ships, Yemeni sources report that the Houthi group, targeted an MSC container ship in the Red Sea.

In a recent press release, the spokesperson for the Yemeni armed forces, Yahya Sare’e, announced a targeted operation by the naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces against the commercial ship “MSC UNITED,” utilizing suitable naval missiles.

“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a targeting operation against the commercial ship, “MSC UNITED,” with appropriate naval missiles,” the group’s spokesperson said.

The incident is confirmed from MSC which reports that on December 26 the container ship MSC UNITED VIII was attacked while transiting the Red Sea.

The vessel informed a nearby coalition task force warship of the attack and as instructed engaged in evasive maneuvers.

MSC notes in its statement that “the incident occurred on 26 December 2023 at approximately 12:25 UTC while the MSC vessel was enroute from King Abdullah Port, Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan. Currently, all crew are safe with no reported injuries and a thorough assessment of the vessel is being conducted.”

“Our first priority remains protecting the lives and safety of our seafarers, and until their safety can be ensured MSC will continue to reroute vessels booked for Suez transit via the Cape of Good Hope.

The operation was initiated after the ship’s crew rejected the naval forces’ calls for the third time and ignored repeated warning flares.

Yahya Sare’e claimed that the targeting operation of the ship came after the crew refused, for the third time, calls from the naval forces, as well as repeated fiery warning messages.

He further added that the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out as well a military operation with a number of drones against military targets in the Umm al-Rashrash area and other areas in occupied Palestine.

Emphasizing their commitment, the spokesperson reiterated the Yemeni’s armed forces support and solidarity for the Palestinian people, viewing it as a religious, ethical, and humanitarian duty.

Yahya Sare’e also confirmed the ongoing operations in the Red and Arabian Seas against Israeli ships or those en route to the ports of occupied Palestine. “This ensures the entry of essential supplies, including food and medicine, to the Gaza Strip.”