Bulker survives multiple missile strikes as Houthi attacks mount

Written by Nick Blenkey
Houthi attacks continue

Laax was one of three ships targeted in the Red Sea, with vessels also being targeted in the Arabian Sea and the Mediterranean. [Image: UKMTO

Shipowners and charterers who are averse to taking calculated risks with their ships, cargo and crew may have to divert even further to avoid Houthi attacks. Yesterday came news that a Greek-owned bulker, the Laax, had survived being struck by three Houthi missiles in the Red Sea while the U.S.-flagged Maersk Hartford was one of two vessels targeted in the Arabian Sea.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), reports that, between 12:05 p.m. and 1:40 p.m. (Sanaa time) May 28, Iranian-backed Houthis launched five anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen into the Red Sea. M/V Laax, a Marshall Island flagged, Greek owned and operated bulk carrier, reported being struck by three of the missiles, but continued its voyage. There were no injuries reported by U.S., coalition, or merchant vessels.

A UKMTO report suggests that the Houthi attack on the Laax involved a second attack on the ship.

Reporting on what looks to have been a spate of Houthi attacks, Al Arabiya says that the Laax is one of six ships that the Houthis claim to have targeted in three different seas. The others that the Houthis claimed to have launched attacks against were two Maltese-flagged bulkers, the Morea and Sealady in the Red Sea, the Alba and the Maersk Hartford in the Arabian Sea and the Greek-flagged chemical tanker Minerva Antonia in the Mediterranean.

According to the Equasis data base, the Laax is an 82,265 dwt , 2012 built bulker managed by Piraeus based Grehel Ship Management. It is owned by Bailey Navigation, which gives its address as “in care of” Grehel Ship Management.

Maritime risk consultancies such as Ambrey have long cautioned that Houthi attacks are increasingly likely to extend beyond the Red Sea.

Meantime, CENTCOM continues to attempt to reduce the threat. It reports that yesterday, in a separate action, , between 10:04 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces successfully destroyed five uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) over the Red Sea, launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

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