Gulf of Oman (May 9, 2009) An SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 5 flies in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower (CVN 69).

US Navy sinks three Houthi boats and crews


Sun, 31-12-2023 01:23 PM, Aden

Aden (South24) 

The United States (US) Central Command announced today the sinking of three Houthi boats in the Red Sea, in the first clash of its kind between the Iranian-backed Yemeni militia and the US Navy.

In a post on their official X account, US Central Command said: “On Dec. 31 at 6:30am (Sanaa time) the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting being under attack by four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats. The small boats, originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, fired crew served and small arms weapons at the MAERSK HANGZHOU, getting to within 20 meters of the vessel, and attempted to board the vessel”.

“A contract embarked security team on the MAERSK HANZGHOU returned fire. U.S. helicopters from the USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and GRAVELY (DDG 107) responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats, the small boats fired upon the U.S. helicopters with crew served weapons and small arms. The U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area. There was no damage to U.S. personnel or equipment,” the statement added.

The Houthis have yet to officially comment on the events detailed in the US statement. The Danish company Maersk said it had again paused its operations in the Red Sea for 48 hours after the Houthis attempted to seize the ship Maersk Hangzhou, according to Reuters.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) published a warning nine hours ago following reports of an incident involving a ship 55 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Hodeidah, which is most likely the Maersk Hangzhou itself.

An update issued four hours ago by the UKMTO also confirmed what US Central Command had reported regarding the Houthi boats.

Agence France-Presse quoted two Yemeni shipping sources as saying that ten Houthi militants were killed in the American bombing, while four others returned, including two wounded.

Today’s events have significantly escalated tensions and make future regional developments much more uncertain, particularly with the Houthis’ previous threats to respond to any attack by the US.

South24 Center

YemenRed SeaCentral CommandUS NavyHouthisIranSaudi ArabiaMAERSK