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Houthis Target Fuel Tanker Headed for Suez Canal

The Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on Wednesday fired two missiles from a territory they hold in Yemen, targeting – but missing – a commercial tanker near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that was carrying jet fuel from India and was headed toward the Suez Canal via the Red Sea, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

The Ardmore Encounter tanker had departed from Mangalore, India, and was traveling north toward the Suez Canal in the Red Sea, according to satellite tracking data analyzed by AP.

The ship had armed security crew aboard it, according to data transmitted by the vessel.  

In a statement to AP, Ardmore Shipping Corp, which owns and operates the Ardmore Encounter tanker, said “No one boarded the vessel and all crew members are safe and accounted for.”

“The vessel remains fully operational with no loss of cargo or damage on board,” the operator of the ship added.

Houthi attacks on commercial vessels around the critical oil flow chokepoints in the Middle East have intensified in recent days.

On Tuesday, a ship in the Red Sea was hit by a missile fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen, a day after the Houthis said they would target every vessel bound for Israel.

The information came from two unnamed U.S. officials who spoke to the War Zone. Per the report, the target was a commercial vessel by the name of M/T Strinda and it was attacked some 60 miles from the Bab el-Mandeb chokepoint.

The news comes a day after the Houthis said they would consider every ship bound for Israel a legitimate target.

Separately, the UK’s Office of Maritime Trade Operations released on Tuesday a warning for all commercial ships in the Red Sea, saying that “an “Unknown Entity” claiming to be the Yemeni Navy over Radio Frequencies has Ordering for a Ship near the Strait to Divert their Course towards Ports in Yemen.”  

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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