US Central Command alleged that a Houthi drone nearly hit a Gabonese oil tanker with 25 Indian crew members onboard traveling through the Red Sea from the Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga, and said that a US warship was deployed to respond to the ship’s distress call.
A Houthi spokesman has sought to set the record straight regarding the US’s claim that the Yemeni militia had targeted a Gabonese oil tanker.
“An American warship fired hysterically during a reconnaissance mission by Yemeni forces in the Red Sea,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement Sunday. One of the missiles nearly hit a Gabon-flagged oil tanker traveling from Russia, the spokesman added.
The Houthi statement contradicts an after action report put out by United States Central Command early Sunday morning alleging that the Houthis had launched two anti-ship missiles into the Red Sea’s shipping lanes on December 23.
According to MarineTraffic, the Saibaba sails under the flag of Gabon, not India.The Houthis have said that they will intentionally target only commercial cargoes that are Israeli-owned or linked, or traveling to or from Israel. The Yemeni militia began their month-long campaign of hijackings, missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea on November 19 with the seizure of the Galaxy Leader, an Israeli billionaire-owned ro-ro car carrier.