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FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen on the Maersk's Triple-E giant container ship Majestic Maersk, one of the world's largest container ships, next to cranes at the APM Terminals in the port of Algeciras, Spain January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen on the Maersk's Triple-E giant container ship Majestic Maersk, one of the world's largest container ships, next to cranes at the APM Terminals in the port of Algeciras, Spain January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo

U.S.-Flagged Containership Targeted by ‘Flying Object’ in Gulf of Aden

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 0
July 9, 2024

A containership operated by Maersk’s U.S.-flagged shipping arm reported an attack in the eastern Gulf of Aden as the Iranian-backed Houthis continue to attack ships over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office said it received a report of an incident 180 nautical miles east of Nishtun, Yemen. The Master of a merchant vessel reported an explosion in close proximity to the ship. The vessel and all crew are safe, and the ship is proceeding to its next port of call.

Maersk confirmed details of the incident in a statement to gCaptain, noting that the vessel Maersk Sentosa was targeted by a “flying object” in the “northernmost part of the Gulf of Aden” in the early hours of July 9th. Fortunately, no injuries to the crew or damage to the ship or cargo were reported. The vessel is currently continuing its voyage and is expected to arrive at its next port of call around noon on July 9th. The Maersk Sentosa is operated by Maersk Line, Limited, a subsidiary of Maersk that operates US-flagged vessels.

AIS data from MarineTraffic.com shows the Maersk Sentosa is underway from Algeciras, Spain to Salalah, Oman.

This incident marks the first attack against a merchant ship reported by the UKMTO office since June 28th. However, both U.S. and European naval forces have reported incidents involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs) in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea this month.

It is important to note that this latest incident occurred far outside the Houthis’ traditional threat area near the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, where most Houthi attacks have been focused. On June 24th, the Liberian-flagged containership MSC Sarah V was targeted with a missile in the Arabian Sea, which ultimately missed the ship. The Houthis later claimed that the first use of a “locally made hypersonic missile” was used in the attack.

Since mid-November, the Iranian-backed Houthis have launched more than 80 attacks against merchant ships from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

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