UK ship ‘hit by rocket fire’ in key shipping route as casualties unknown

A UK-owned vessel has reportedly been hit by a rocket in the Red Sea while sailing on a key shipping route near Yemen, according to the maritime security firm Ambrey cited in an AFP report.

The unnamed Bahamian-flagged vessel was “struck by a rocket,” according to the report. An international naval asset in the vicinity of the attack was likely proceeding to assist.

The UK-based company said: “The affected vessel was issuing distress calls relating to piracy/missile attack.”

The news comes just hours after the Royal Navy-run United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said there was an explosion in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that separates East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.

The UKMTO said that drones were operating in the area. It was unclear who was operating the UAVs but the agency said the “potential explosion” came from the direction of Yemen.

Tensions have soared in the Red Sea since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas following a bloody terrorist attack by the later on October 7.

Since then, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have joined the fray on the side of Hamas launching numerous ballistic missiles as well as drones at Israel and US naval assets in the region. The group has so far been quiet on today’s attack.

Last month, the Iran-backed group hijacked a cargo ship that they claimed was Israeli. The Houthis said that the ship was taken to a port in Yemen.

Israeli denied that the ship was Israeli and said no Israelis were onboard. PM Benjamin Netanyahu branded the incident “another act of Iranian terrorism”.

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