Middle East

Ship attacked by Huthi rebels believed to have sunk in Red Sea

By Niamh Kennedy and Michael Rios, CNN

CNN  —  A Greek-owned coal carrier appears to have capsized in the Red Sea days after it was struck by Iranian-backed Huthi rebels, according to a report published by the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).

The MV Tutor is thought to be the second ship sunk by Huthis since March, when the British-registered vessel Rubymar was downed after being struck by ballistic missiles fired from Huthi territory in Yemen.

The rebels have launched dozens of missile and drone attacks directed at ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since Israel launched its invasion of Gaza following the Hamas-led October 7 attacks. Since then, tensions have spiked across the Middle East, with key regional actors fiercely condemning the humanitarian crisis caused by more than eight months of Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

Israel launched its military offensive in October after militants led by Hamas, which governs Gaza, killed at least 1,200 people and abducted more than 250 others.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have since killed at least 37,396 Palestinians and injured another 85,523 people, according to the Ministry of Health there.

Christian Domarique (center), a crew member of the MV Tutor, arrives in Metro Manila, on June 17. Dozens of ships have been attacked in the Red Sea, as regional tensions flare over Israel's war in Gaza.

The Tutor was first hit on June 12 by a smaller boat before being struck a second time by “an unknown airborne projectile,” according to the UKMTO. One crew member was reported missing after the attack, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said last week.

After the ship’s entire crew were evacuated from the vessel, it began to drift before reportedly sinking on Tuesday, according to the UKMTO.

A Huthi spokesperson previously claimed that the ship had been attacked by a sea drone, ballistic missiles and other drones for violating their so-called “ban to the occupied Palestinian ports.”

Huthi-run news outlet Al Masirah acknowledged foreign media reports regarding the sinking on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, CENTCOM said on X that, “The Huthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza. The ongoing threat to international commerce caused by the Huthis in fact makes it harder to deliver badly needed assistance to the people of Yemen as well as Gaza.”

Earlier this month, CENTCOM launched attacks on Huthi radars that helped facilitate the group’s ongoing assaults on ships in the Red Sea, according to US Central Command.

CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman contributed reporting.

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