The escalating tensions between Houthi rebels associated with Iran and the U.S. and U.K. have culminated in a threat of retaliation by the rebels, following recent strikes by the western nations.
Targeted Commercial Vessels
The Maersk Detroit and Maersk Chesapeake, both under the operation of the U.S. subsidiary of the Danish shipping company Maersk, were the targets of a three-missile attack. A nearby naval vessel, the USS Gravely, was successful in intercepting two of these projectiles, resulting in the third missile missing its desired target.
Strike on Marlin Luandan
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Marlin Luandan, a tanker flying under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was hit by an ‘anti-ship ballistic missile'. This vessel, owned by the U.K.-registered company Oceonix Services Ltd and operated by Trafigura, was carrying naphtha – a highly volatile hydrocarbon mixture.
Raging Fire and Rescue Operations
Following the strike, a severe fire broke out onboard the Marlin Luandan. The French frigate Alsace was initially called in for aid, and was subsequently joined by the USS Carney and the Indian Navy frigate Visakhapatnam. These three ships supplied a high-efficiency emulsifier to combat the fire until it was completely extinguished. Astonishingly, there were no reported casualties among the tanker's crew.
Houthis Claim Responsibility
The Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, stating it was a response to the perceived aggression of the U.S. and U.K.
The Role of French Frigates
The French frigates Alsace and Languedoc have been operating independently in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since January 20. Their primary mission is to uphold maritime safety and ensure freedom of navigation. Despite their independence, they maintain a clever geographical division of efforts with the U.S., ensuring real-time information sharing for a more robust defense.