Houthi missile strike on Coalition warship off Mokha

On the 14th June, a UAE coalition warship was hit by a missile as it left Mokha port in the Yemen southern Red Sea. The attack was claimed by the Houthi rebels and it has since been reported by the coalition that there was minimal damage to the ship and that one crew member was injured.

Video footage released by Houthi media shows the attack occurred during hours of darkness and that there was a significant explosion on the warship.

Houthi rebels successfully hit UAE supply ship HSV-2 Swift in October 2016 and targeted US warships repeatedly. In response, the US destroyed a number of fixed radar stations ashore, thought to have been used for target identification. The successful attack on the 14th June demonstrates that the Houthi’s retain the capability to accurately launch missiles from shore to sea. It should be noted that all missile attacks to date during the Yemen civil war have been directed at military targets, not commercial vessels. However, the risk of mistargeting or collateral damage remains.

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CMF Warns of ‘New Threat’ in the HRA

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a naval coalition tasked with the security of HRA, Red Sea and the Gulf, has released a ‘Statement to Industry’ highlighting concerns of a ‘new threat’ to vessel operators, demonstrated by attempted attacks on LNGC GALICIA SPIRIT in October 2016 and MT MUSKIE in May 2017.

In both cases, the attacking boats didn’t fit the traditional Somali pirate model as there were significant quantities of explosives on-board. Both attacks failed and MT MUSKIE was defended by the on-board armed security. MAST’s assessment is that these were attempted terrorist attacks.

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Attempted terrorism on MT Muskie in the Bab al Mandeb

On the 31st May, MT Muskie came under RPG and small arms fire in the southern end of the Bab al Mandeb (BAM). While the nature of the attack with RPG and small arms fire at the vessel gave the appearance of a Somali pirate attack, there were unconfirmed reports at the time from nearby vessels an explosion may have occurred in one of the attacking skiffs.

Evidence indicates the reported detonation in one of the attacking skiffs was significant and that the most likely explanation for this was a bomb detonating prematurely. This points therefore, to the incident being an attempt at terrorism rather than piracy.

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MAST Intelligence Report Series 7/06/17

Issue 79 of the series reviews, analyses and threat assesses the fragile and conflict affected coastal states Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The Mediterranean migrant crisis, incidents affecting maritime security and influencing maritime news are also reported and analysed, focusing on the keys theatres of maritime instability.

To read the full report click here .

Reporting and analysis on the attacks on MT Muskie and MV Navig8 Providence

On 31st May it was reported that three pirates in a skiff armed with guns and RPG’s chased and fired upon the laden Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Muskie, while underway at 0715 UTC in position 12°33’47N 043°29’24E, around 5nm SE of Perim Island, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea. The alarm was raised and non-essential crew mustered in the citadel. Three RPGs were fired at the vessel. MT Muskie sustained damage to the bridge. The embarked armed security team fired warning shots resulting in the skiff moving away. Two warships proceeded to the area to assist the vessel. All on-board were reported safe.

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