The Houthis just scored their first drone boat hit on a Red Sea ship

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  • The Houthis attacked a commercial ship with an unmanned surface vessel on Wednesday.

  • It is the first time the rebels have scored a hit with a USV during their ongoing attacks on the Red Sea.

  • Previous attempts were unsuccessful.

The Houthis used an unmanned surface vessel to attack a commercial ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday, the US military revealed.

The Iranian-backed rebels have employed USVsalso known as naval drones or drone boats, as part of their attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, but so far they have failed to actually score a hit.

The suspected explosives-laden ship struck the M/V Tutor, a Greek-owned Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, the US Central Command said, noting in its statement on the incident that “tThe impact of the USV caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room.”

Prior to the release of the CENTCOM statement, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of the British Royal Navy, posted an incident bulletin said earlier on Wednesday that a “small vessel” had struck a ship off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea. It described the vessel as white in color and between 5 and 7 meters in length.

The UKMTO later said the ship was “taking on water, and not under crew command”. In a follow-up update, it said the ship was “hit for a second time by an unknown aerial projectile” and “military authorities are assisting.”

The current status of the affected ship is unclear.

An official from the maritime security company Ambrey first told The War Zone reported about the incident, that the Tutor is a ‘dead ship’ and will require ‘salvage operations’.

The Houthis have deployed USVs in recent years, although the rebels only started fighting earlier this year actually started using the drones as part of their months-long attacks on shipping lanes.

Wednesday’s attack marks the first successful attack by a Houthi USV during the campaign. Before this incident, so were the drone boats destroyed by western forces, or they were detonated in the water without hitting anything.

In addition to USVs, so have the Houthis relied on their extensive arsenal of anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as several one-way attack drones, to wreak havoc off the coast of Yemen. Since the fall, the rebels have used these weapons to bomb a number of commercial ships. It sank one and killed the other crew members.

On the weekend, the Houthis two commercial ships hit in the Gulf of Aden with anti-ship missiles. However, in both incidents the ships managed to continue sailing. The Tutor is the latest attack.

The series of attacks recently comes after the Pentagon the stakes expanded of the US Navy strike group fighting the Houthis, as US intelligence officials warn The conflict may continue for a while.

Read the original article Business insider

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