US Ships Flee After Increased Houthi Attack

The US Navy shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired at a US-flagged container ship by Houthi rebels in Yemen on January 24 in the Gulf of Aden, CNN reported.

US Central Command, which oversees US operations in the region, said in a statement that the three missiles were fired toward the US-owned and operated M/V Maersk Detroit which was transiting the Gulf of Aden at approximately 2:00 pm local time.

One of the missiles “impacted in the sea,” while the other two were shot down by the destroyer USS Gravely. No injuries were reported and the container ship was not damaged, according to the statement.

The attack was the first successful missile launch by the Houthis since January 18 and occurred just days after US and UK forces launched a series of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

US forces in the region have been trying to destroy missiles on the ground before the Houthis can even launch them, and in recent weeks have had success against several targets.

The M/V Maersk Detroit was transiting the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea with another US-flagged vessel the Mersk Chesapeake at the time of the January 24 missile attack.

According to a statement from Maersk, while the vessels were en route, both reported observing explosions nearby and seeing the US Navy vessel intercept “multiple projectiles.”

While the ship, cargo, and crew of the M/V Maersk Detroit were “safe and unharmed,” the two ships turned back from their planned route toward the Red Sea and were escorted by Navy vessels back to the Gulf of Aden.

The shipping company said in its statement that its US subsidiary, Maersk Line Ltd. which operates the two US-flagged vessels, would be suspending transits through the region until further notice.

Maersk reiterated that crew safety is “of utmost importance.”