Houthi fighters open the door of the cockpit on the ship's deck in the Red Sea in this photo released November 20, 2023.

British Authorities Alert Ships After Maritime Incident In Red Sea

Friday, 12/08/2023

British officials have warned shipping in the Red Sea to “exercise caution” after a vessel was ordered to change course by "an entity" claiming to be the Yemeni authorities.

The incident comes after a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since the eruption of hostilities between Israel and Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

On Friday, the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it had “received reports of an entity declaring itself to be the Yemeni authorities, ordering a vessel to alter course in the Southern Red Sea.”

Agency officials added: “Vessels in the vicinity are advised to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO.”

On Sunday, the US military reported three commercial vessels coming under attack in the Southern Red Sea.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi group claimed responsibility for drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area on Sunday. According to the Houthi group, the attacks were carried out in response to the demands of Yemenis and calls from Muslim countries to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

On Wednesday, the UKMTO was informed of an incident related to a suspected drone over the Red Sea, situated to the west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

Last month, the Houthi group – which controls most of Yemen's Red Sea coast -- also seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship.

Their attempt to hijack another vessel was thwarted thanks to the US Navy as it responded to a distress call from an Israeli-managed commercial tanker in the Gulf of Aden after it had been seized by gunmen.

The Houthi attack came after calls by Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei to stop the shipment of oil and food to Israel. The group, which controls most of Yemen's Red Sea coast, had previously fired ballistic missiles and armed drones at Israel and vowed to target more Israeli vessels.

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