In a dramatic turn of events in the Gulf of Aden, two ballistic missiles were launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen towards a US warship. This incident followed a distress call from a commercial tanker, the Central Park, which had been seized by armed individuals.
The US military detailed this encounter in a recent statement, shedding light on a tense situation in a region known for its strategic maritime significance. The Central Park, a vessel carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid, reported being under attack by an unknown entity, prompting swift action from the US Navy.
The USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer, along with allied ships from a counter-piracy task force, responded to the call. Upon arrival, they demanded the release of the vessel, as reported by the US Central Command.
A Sequence of Events: Rescue and Missile Attack
The situation escalated when five armed individuals disembarked from the Central Park and attempted to flee in a small boat.
However, the USS Mason pursued the attackers, leading to their eventual surrender. The identity of these attackers remains undisclosed. Hours later, a new threat emerged. At 1:41 a.m. local time on Monday, the Houthi rebels fired two ballistic missiles towards the general vicinity of the USS Mason and Central Park.
The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden, approximately ten nautical miles from the ships, thankfully resulting in no damage or injuries. During this time, the USS Mason was concluding its response to the distress call from the Central Park.
Zodiac Maritime, the company managing the tanker, confirmed the safety of the crew, vessel, and cargo. While the tanker has links to an Israeli-owned company, Zodiac Maritime, a spokesperson clarified that it is not owned by Ofer Global, a business belonging to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.
General Erik Kurilla, commander of US Central Command, emphasized the importance of maritime security for regional stability. He stated, "We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes." This incident highlights the ongoing challenges and complexities of maintaining security in a region rife with conflict and strategic interests.