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Houthis shoot at another “American” ship saying attacks are escalating

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YEMEN : Another bulker sailing southeast of Aden, Yemen was targeted by the Houthis again. Initial reports are that the vessel was not hit and that the crew is safe, but it appears that the ship may be another example of outdated information leading to its targeting.

UK-based digital solutions provider Vanguard identify the targeted ship as the Propel Fortune (58,000 dwt), a Singapore-registered bulker that departed India on February 25. The ship’s AIS is displaying a message “Not connected to Israel,” without showing a destination.

The vessel appears to have been previously financed by an affiliate of the American firm Oaktree Capital Management, the same company that had recently sold the MV True Confidence which was attacked at the beginning of the week killing three crew members. The Equasis database shows OCM Maritime affiliated with the ship in 2021, but as of 2022, Propel Shipping of Singapore is listed as the owner with the ship being managed by V. Ships of India.

UK Maritime Trade Operations said the master of an unnamed vessel reported two explosions “ahead of the vessel.” The incident took place approximately 50 nautical miles south southeast of Aden. UKMTO writes the incident is under investigation. They later issued a follow up statement citing the captain refuting claims the vessel was “subject to any collateral damage.” They said the vessel was proceeding to its next port.

Today’s attack took place as the Houthis were highlighting their weekly rally on Fridays in Sanaa, Yemen. Spokesperson Yahya Saree reported a strong attendance highlighting “Our strikes are escalating.” The targeting of the Propel Fortune, follows the attacks earlier in the week on the True Confidence and the MSC Sky II, both of which were hit. CENTCOM reported the Houthis had fired at least five anti-ship ballistic missiles this week prior to today’s attack with the USS Carney also downing a missile.

Saree later wrote on X, “Due to the urgent military developments in the theater of military operations, the date of the military statement of the Yemeni Armed Forces has been postponed until tomorrow morning.” The militants did not issue their usual statement taking credit for the attack.

EUNAVFOR’s new mission Aspides is tracking incidents in the region. They are listing over 100 reports including commercial vessels or warships targeted or the downing of attacks launched by the Houthi.

The U.S. and European naval forces continue their patrols and targeting Houthi weapons. The U.S. Central Command reports yesterday U.S. forces conducted strikes against four mobile Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles and one Houthi unmanned aerial vehicle. Additionally, CENTCOM forces shot down three UAVs launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden.

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