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Houthis carry out first successful USV attack

Tufan-1 attack USVs in the parade Ansar Allah held on 21 September 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed on 12 June that Ansar Allah (commonly known as the Houthis) had carried out the first successful attack with an unmanned surface vessel (USV) since the start of the Yemeni rebel group's current anti-shipping campaign in November 2023.

It said a USV launched by Ansar Allah hit the bulk carrier Tutor (IMO: 9942627), causing severe flooding and damage to the vessel's engine room.

The UK Maritime Trade Organisation earlier in the day reported that a merchant vessel it did not name had been hit in the stern by a small, white craft with a length of 5–7 m and gave co-ordinates for the location of the incident that are approximately 120 km west of the Houthi-controlled Red Sea coast of northern Yemen. It added that the ship was taking on water and not under command when it was hit by an unknown airborne projectile.

CENTCOM did not confirm a second attack on Tutor , reporting instead that Ansar Allah had launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) into the Red Sea, but that no ships had reported casualties or damage.

The spokesperson for Ansar Allah's armed wing claimed responsibility for attacking Tutor but added no detail other than claiming the ship's owner was violating the group's ban on visiting Israeli ports.

Automatic identification system (AIS) information shows Tutor reported the Jordanian Port of Aqaba as its destination when it was sailing south in the Gulf of Suez on 8 June. CENTCOM said the ship's most recent stop was in Russia.

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