YEMEN’S Ansar Allah has attacked a cargo ship transiting waters around Yemen on its way to Iran.
Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis), a militia aligned with Iran, has been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea region since November 2023, but this most recent attack appears to be the first time the group has targeted an Iran-bound vessel.
The latest target was the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Star Iris.
“Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired two missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Bab al-Mandeb,” CentCom said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
“Both missiles were launched toward MV Star Iris, a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel transiting the Red Sea carrying corn from Brazil.
“The ship reports being seaworthy with minor damage and no injuries to the crew. Of note, the MV Star Iris’s destination is Bandar Iman Khomeini, Iran.”
British maritime security firm Ambrey said Star Iris was the fourth vessel Ansar Allah had targeted this month.
“The Houthis continue to target Israeli, American, and British-linked shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” Ambrey wrote in a circular.
“So far in February, four vessels have been targeted by the Houthis, all with these affiliations.”
Ambrey noted that, although Star Iris is primarily Greek-owned, the bulker was also listed on the US stock market index, NASDAQ.
“Since the first American and British airstrikes on Houthi military positions on the 11th of January 2024, the Houthis have targeted American and British-owned vessels,” it wrote.
“At the time of writing, they had targeted merchant vessels whose group owners were registered in or controlled by American and British companies.
“Affiliations with mainland China, with Iran and Russia have not altogether negated attacks either.”
In January, Ambrey said, Ansar Allah targeted a container ship operated by a company co-operating with Zim and calling Israel, but which was owned by a Chinese company.
The same month, the Houthis targeted a tanker with an outdated British affiliation carrying oil from Russia.