British Oil Tanker Hit by Houthi Missile After Group Fires at US Warship—China Urges Rebels to Stop Red Sea Attacks

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jan 27, 2024 01:11 AM EST

A British oil tanker was reported to be engulfed in flames in the Gulf of Aden after Houthi rebels hit it with a missile on Friday after transiting the Red Sea.

According to UPI, Houthi rebels based in Yemen struck the Marlin Luanda oil tanker just hours before the group attacked a US Navy ship.

UK Maritime Organizations noted that it received a report that the oil tanker, which Britain-based Oceonix Services own, was on fire and asked for assistance approximately 60 nautical miles south of the Port of Aden in Yemen.

(Photo : AFP via Getty Images)
A picture taken during an organised tour by Yemen's Huthi rebels (on board) on November 22, 2023 shows the Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized by Huthi fighters two days earlier, docked in a port on the Red Sea in the Yemeni province of Hodeida, with Palestinian and Yemeni flags installed on it.

Missile Strike by Houthi Rebels Hit British Oil Tanker Marlin Luanda

A spokesperson for operator Trafigura confirmed the attack. The spokesperson told CNBC that the firefighting equipment on board was being used to contain the fire in one of the cargo tanks.

The spokesperson added that they are in constant contact with the vessel, and the company's top concern is the crew's safety. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the Iranian-backed group targeted the ship with "a number of appropriate naval missiles."

Houthi military spokesperson Yaha Sarea said the strike "was direct and resulted in the burning of the vessel." According to UPI, the Marlin Luanda experienced two attacks on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the vessel reported an explosion in the air above the Achilles, an oil tanker reportedly under contract to an Indian shipper. Luckily, the projectile did not hit the two tankers.

Houthi rebels also fired a ballistic missile at the US Navy destroyer Carney in the Gulf of Aden earlier on Friday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said. However, CENTCOM noted that the Carney shot down the missile. No injuries or damage were reported.

A day before the attack, the US and Britain announced formal sanctions targeting four Houthi leaders.

READ ALSO: Oil Prices Surge Over 3% Amid US Warning of Houthi Militants in the Red Sea

China Calls on Houthi Rebels to Stop Red Sea Attacks

China has called for Houthi rebels to stop their attacks on the Red Sea, TIME reported.

"We are concerned about rising tensions in the Red Sea. We urge the cessation of attacks and harassment against civilian ships, and urge all parties to stop fueling the tensions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

According to TIME, the remarks came after it was reported that Chinese officials urged their Iranian counterparts to intervene with the Red Sea attacks by Houthi militants or risk harming business relations with China.

Houthi rebels started attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea in November. Since then, more than 27 attacks against ships reportedly happened, which prompted dozens of shipping companies to reroute their vessels to avoid being targeted.

US and British military forces have since conducted a series of retaliatory missile and drone strikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels.

READ MORE: Shipping Giant Maersk to Resume Red Sea Voyages With US-Led Security Force in Place

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