Houthis attack Ukrainian-Polish ship in Red Sea, injuring civilian mariner

Friday, 14 June 2024

Houthi militants who enjoy the support from Iran have hit a Ukrainian-Polish vessel in the Gulf of Aden, injuring a man.

The US Central Command’s report indicates that a vessel owned by a Ukrainian company, operated by a Polish company and sailing under the flag of Palau, was damaged. The ship was hit twice.

"Today the Iranian-backed Houthis launched two anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) into the Gulf of Aden. Both missiles struck M/V Verbena, a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated bulk cargo carrier. … M/V Verbena reported damage and subsequent fires on board. The crew continues to fight the fire. One civilian mariner was severely injured during the attack," the 13 June report reads. 

Reportedly, the vessel had previously been in Malaysia and is now en route to Italy with a cargo of wood construction material. 


In a subsequent report, US Central Command stated that the M/V Verbena came under fire for the second time. The attack was carried out with an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. 

US Central Command condemned the actions of the Houthis, emphasising that while they claim their behaviour is in defence of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, they are attacking citizens of countries that have no involvement in this conflict. 

US Central Command also reported that over the past 24 hours, their forces targeted a Houthi air defence radar, destroyed a maritime drone and two Houthi patrol boats at sea, and shot down a drone launched over the Red Sea.

Earlier this week, a ship from Greece was affected in the region. At the end of May, the Houthis attacked a Greek bulk carrier with missiles, and before that, they hit a Greek oil tanker with an anti-ship missile. 

The US and allies began patrolling the region to protect merchant vessels by the end of 2023, after attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants began posing a threat to this trade route. Since January, a special European Union naval mission has also been operating in the region.

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