In a recent incident, a US warship, the USS Carney, successfully intercepted three drones after three commercial vessels faced attacks in the Red Sea. The vessels, associated with 14 nations, including the UK, were targeted in areas of Yemen controlled by Iran-backed Houthi rebels. While two ships were struck by missiles, there were no reported casualties.
The USS Carney, part of the US military’s Central Command overseeing Middle East operations, played a crucial role in responding to the attacks. The Unity Explorer, a UK-owned cargo ship flagged in the Bahamas, experienced an anti-ship ballistic missile explosion, prompting the USS Carney’s intervention. Subsequently, the warship thwarted an approaching drone, although its specific target remains unclear.
Later in the day, the Unity Explorer sustained minor damage from a missile launched from Houthi-controlled territory. Responding to distress calls from other vessels—one UK-owned and both flagged in Panama—the USS Carney successfully intercepted a third drone.
The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have held parts of Yemen since 2014, contributing to an ongoing civil war. Recent attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, including those with Israel-related connections, underscore heightened tensions in the region amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
US Central Command condemned the attacks, emphasising the risk posed to multinational crews and labelling them a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. The statement pointed to Iran’s alleged enablement of these attacks by the Houthi rebels and pledged appropriate responses in coordination with international allies.
In a related incident, armed individuals who seized an Israeli-linked tanker off Yemen’s coast were apprehended by a US warship. Following this, missiles were fired toward the warship from Houthi-controlled territory. The Houthi rebels align themselves with an “axis of resistance,” which opposes Israel, the US, and Western interests.