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Houthis Target U.S.-Owned Tanker in Red Sea

The Iran-aligned Houthis fired late on Thursday two anti-ship ballistic missiles at a U.S.-owned chemical tanker in the Red Sea, the U.S. Central Command said in what it described as the third Houthi attack on a commercial vessel in three days.  

On Thursday evening local time, the Houthis launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at the chemical tanker M/V Chem Ranger. The tanker is a Marshall Island-flagged, U.S.-owned, Greek-operated tanker ship, the Central Command said, adding that the crew observed the missiles impact the water near the ship. There were no reported injuries or damage to the ship, and the tanker has continued underway, the U.S. said.

According to a post by TankerTrackers.com on X, “This fairly small chemical tanker left the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Kuwait, but her AIS went offline on 2024-01-16 before proceeding south past Yemen.”

The tensions in the region have intensified in recent weeks, as the Houthis ramped up attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and declared open season on any U.S. ship transiting the area, in response to last week’s U.S.-UK missile strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

The U.S. has continued to strike Houthi positions this week.

The U.S. said on Thursday that Central Command forces conducted strikes on two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the Southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch.

On Wednesday, command forces conducted strikes on 14 Iran-backed Houthi missiles that were loaded to be fired in Houthi controlled areas in Yemen.

“These strikes, along with other actions we have taken, will degrade the Houthi's capabilities to continue their reckless attacks on international and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden,” the Central Command said.

This week, tensions in the Middle East escalated with another regional conflict, in which Pakistan carried out on Thursday a series of military strikes against terrorist hideouts in Iran’s southeastern province Sistan-Baluchestan, two days after Iran targeted with missiles sites linked to militant group Jaysh al-Adlin in western Pakistan.

The rising geopolitical risk this week pushed oil prices early on Friday on track for a weekly gain

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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