US Warship Attacked in Historic Naval Confrontation, Commercial Ship Set Ablaze

Houthi Missile Attack Escalates Naval Tensions in Gulf of Aden

In a significant escalation of naval tensions in the Middle East, Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched a missile targeting the USS Carney, a US warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

The missile, intended for the warship, instead struck a commercial vessel, resulting in a massive blaze.

Retaliatory Strike by US Forces

The US military’s Central Command responded with a retaliation strike against the Houthi anti-ship missile aimed into the Red Sea.

The incident marks a critical development in the ongoing conflict, representing the largest naval confrontation the US has faced in the region in decades.

Houthi’s First Direct Targeting of US Warship

This event is the first instance of Houthi rebels directly targeting a US warship since their assaults on shipping began in October.

The rebels’ single anti-ship ballistic missile, initially aimed at the USS Carney, veered off course and ignited the commercial vessel, marking a shift in the rebels’ aggressive tactics.

Identification of the Commercial Vessel and Response

Yemeni armed forces identified the commercial vessel as the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Marlin Luanda.

The vessel, carrying Russian fuel, was incorrectly labeled by Houthi military spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Saree as a ‘British oil ship.’

The US Central Command confirmed the attack on Marlin Luanda.

US Military’s Response and Assessment

Despite the USS Carney being directly targeted, Central Command clarified that the missile was fired ‘towards’ the warship.

The Carney successfully intercepted and shot down the anti-ship ballistic missile.

Analysts, such as Brad Bowman from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, acknowledged the severity of the situation, stating that Houthi attacks on US warships reflect an attempt to harm US forces.

Houthi’s Target Misidentification and Ongoing Crisis

Saree, the official spokesperson for the Yemeni armed forces, misidentified the targeted commercial vessel and labeled it as British.

Shipping records, however, reveal that Marlin Luanda is flagged under the Marshall Islands.

The incident adds complexity to the already tumultuous situation in the region.

Trafigura’s Response and Ownership Details

Trafigura, the commodities supply firm chartering Marlin Luanda, confirmed the missile strike and subsequent fire in one cargo tank.

The company assured that firefighting equipment was being used to control the blaze. Marlin Luanda, leased by Trafigura, is owned by a group of investors through a Bermuda-based company.

The safety of the crew remains a top priority for Trafigura.

Global Ramifications and Ongoing Investigations

The missile attack on Marlin Luanda is the latest in a series of assaults by Houthi rebels, impacting shipping in the Red Sea and surrounding waters.

The situation remains fluid as international authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Addison Police Department, actively investigate the incident.

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