Explosion reported near ship off Yemen coast, UKMTO says

CAIRO (Reuters) - The captain of a merchant ship east of Yemen's Aden has reported an explosion near the ship, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said early on Sunday.

"No damage to the vessel has been reported and the crew are reported safe. The vessel is proceeding to its next port of call," UKMTO said in an advisory note.

The ship was 85 nautical miles (157 km, 98 miles) east of Aden, in an area where Houthi militant groups often target ships they say are linked to Israel or the United States.

Months of Red Sea attacks by Yemen's Houthi militants have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa, and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to destabilise the wider Middle East.

The United States and Britain have launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen and redesignated the militia as a terrorist group.

On Saturday, the U.S. military said it destroyed a drone fired by the Yemeni Houthis, with another presumed to have crashed into the Red Sea.

(Reporting by Hatem Maher; Editing by Tom Hogue and Edmund Klamann)