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US military say missiles fired near warship aiding seized tanker off Yemen
27 November 2023, 04:54
The Central Park tanker had been seized in the Gulf of Aden.
Two ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen came near a US warship on Monday after it aided a tanker that had been seized in the Gulf of Aden, the US military said.
A statement from US Central Command said the missiles splashed down in the water around 10 miles from the USS Mason as it aided the tanker, named the Central Park.
“There was no damage or reported injuries from either vessel during this incident,” Central Command said.
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the attack.
Central Command said its forces and allies, including the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mason, responded to the seizure and demanded the armed assailants release the tanker.
“Five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat,” Central Command said. “The Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender.”
Yemen’s internationally recognised government blamed the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for the attack, which followed at least two other recent maritime attacks linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
The attackers seized the Liberian-flagged Central Park, managed by Zodiac Maritime, in the Gulf of Aden, the company, the US and British militaries said.
Zodiac said the vessel carrying phosphoric acid and its crew of 22 sailors from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam were “unharmed” on Monday.
“We would like to thank the coalition forces who responded quickly, protecting assets in the area and upholding international maritime law,” the company said.
It offered no details on how the attackers left the vessel, nor identified them.
London-based Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.
The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which provides warnings to sailors in the Middle East, had earlier warned sailors that “two black-and-white craft carrying eight persons in military-style clothing” had been seen in the area.
The Central Park seizure comes after a container ship, CMA CGM Symi, owned by another Israeli billionaire, came under attack on Friday by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean. Iran has not acknowledged carrying out the attack.