Suspected Houthi attack sets UK-owned ship on fire near Yemeni coast

A cargo ship named Islander was attacked near Yemen’s southern coast, prompting a response from U.S.-led naval forces. Houthi insurgents have been conducting numerous attacks in the region since November.

A cargo ship near Yemen’s southern coast was attacked with missiles, resulting in a fire onboard. The vessel, named Islander, is UK-owned and Palau-flagged, travelling from Thailand to Egypt. U.S.-led naval forces are reacting to the incident, where two missiles targeted the ship approximately 70 nautical miles southeast of Aden, Yemen.


This information was reported by British maritime agencies, Ambrey, and ship tracking data. Since November, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi insurgents have conducted multiple drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait, and Gulf of Aden. In January, U.S. and British forces initiated counterattacks on Houthi installations in response to the group’s actions, which they claimed were motivated by their support for Palestinians in Gaza.



While no ships have been sunk nor crew killed in the recent Houthi attacks, concerns persist regarding the fate of the Rubymar cargo vessel, which was struck on February 18. Although the Houthis claimed the Rubymar was at risk of sinking, a U.S. defence official stated that as of Thursday, the ship remained afloat.


These attacks are disrupting a vital route responsible for approximately 12% of global maritime traffic, forcing companies to take longer and more expensive routes around Africa. Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM noted in a Tuesday report that Houthi assaults on cargo ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are becoming more frequent, presenting significant challenges to maritime operations and global trade.