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Photo of the MV True Confidence after it was struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile in the western Gulf of Aden, March 6, 2024. Photo courtesy U.S. Central Command.

Photo of the MV True Confidence after it was struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile in the western Gulf of Aden, March 6, 2024. Photo courtesy U.S. Central Command

Three Dead After Houthi Missile Attack on Bulk Carrier

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 12576
March 6, 2024

The U.S. Central Command has confirmed three fatalities on board the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier True Confidence after the ship was struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.

This marks the first civilian casualties in a series of attacks launched by the Iranian-backed Houthis terrorist group on merchant and navy vessels in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November.

The incident follows the sinking of the M/V Rubymar over the weekend, which was the first sinking claimed by the Houthis after a missile strike in February.

Damage to the MV True Confidence after it was struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile in the western Gulf of Aden, March 6, 2024. Photo courtesy U.S. Central Command
Damage to the MV True Confidence after it was struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile in the western Gulf of Aden, March 6, 2024. Photo courtesy U.S. Central Command

Central Command said the missile targeting the True Confidence was launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on March 6 at around 11:30 a.m. Sanaa time. The missile caused significant damage on the Liberian-owned bulk carrier, resulting in three fatalities and at least four injuries among the multinational crew, three of which are critical.

Following the strike, the crew abandoned the ship, and coalition warships have since responded and are currently assessing the situation.

The vessel was last reported drifting with the fire continuing on board. 

The ship’s owners and manager confirmed the incident took place as the vessel was about 50 nautical miles southwest of Aden. It said the crew of 20 consisted of one Indian, four Vietnamese, and 15 Filipinos, along with three armed guards, two Sri Lankans and one Nepalese.

At the time of the attack, True Confidence was en route from China to Jeddah and Aqaba, carrying a cargo of steel products and trucks. The vessel is owned by True Confidence Shipping SA and operated by Piraeus, Greece’s Third January Maritime Ltd, with no current connection to any U.S. entity.

The Central Command reported that this is the fifth ASBM fired by Houthis in just two days. Two of the five missiles hit two shipping vessels, M/V MSC Sky II and M/V True Confidence, while USS Carney (DDG 64) shot down another ASBM.

These latest attacks have taken place despite the international efforts to curb the activities of the terrorist group. Since January, U.S. forces in the region have carried out several strikes on more than 230 Houthi targets in Yemen, plus countless defensive actions against drones and missiles launched towards international shipping lanes. The U.S. and UK have also carried out at least four joint bombing campaigns in Yemen.

The Houthis also continue to hold hostage 25 seafarers on board the roll-on/roll-off vehicle carrier Galaxy Leader, which was seized on the November 19, 2023.

“These reckless attacks by the Houthis have disrupted global trade and taken the lives of international seafarers simply doing their jobs, which are some of the hardest jobs in the world, and the ones relied on by the global public for sustainment of supply chains. We offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and again condemn the Houthis for these attacks,” the U.S. Central Command said.

In a statement, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez called the incident “deeply saddening” and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. He also renewed his call for collective action to protect seafarers.

“Innocent seafarers should never become collateral victims,” he said. “I want to thank the efforts of all ships in the area in assisting the vessel and particularly its crew. We all need to do more to protect seafarers.

“I once again call for collective action to fortify the safety of those who serve at sea. International trade depends on international shipping and international shipping cannot go on without seafarers,” Dominguez added.

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