Missiles attack inflicts damage to vessel SW of Yemen's Mokha

CAIRO (Reuters) -Three missiles were sighted approximately 15 nautical miles southwest of Yemen's Mokha, British security firm Ambrey said on Friday, and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said that one vessel was damaged.

"The Master has reported two attacks. The first attack, the vessel experienced an explosion in close proximity to the vessel, which was felt by the crew on board," UKMTO said in an advisory note.

"Subsequently, the second attack on the vessel, consisted of what is believed to be two missiles, which resulted in damage to the vessel," UKMTO added.

The tanker, which was not identified by name, was en route from Pimorsk, Russia, to Vadinar, India, when it was attacked, Ambrey said in its advisory note.

"A Panama-flagged tanker, formerly UK-owned before its ownership changed in November 2023, was the closest vessel to the sighting," Ambrey's note said.

"At the time of writing, the vessel's owner was Seychelles-registered and was engaged in Russia-linked trade," Ambrey said of the tanker that was attacked.

The note said the vessel was transmitting an Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal.

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

The United States and Britain have carried out strikes against Houthi targets in response to the attacks on shipping.

The Houthis since November have attacked more than four dozen ships, taking possession of one and sinking another. The barrage of assaults had eased in recent weeks amid U.S.-led airstrikes and a sharp drop in commercial vessel voyages through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

(Reporting by Jaidaa Taha and Muhammad Al Gebaly; writing by Adam Makary; Editing by Louise Heavens, Kevin Liffey and Leslie Adler)