Following reported explosions, a ship near the incident identified a small boat within a mile, prompting caution as it may have been involved in the targeting. This comes two days after Houthi raiding craft fired on U.S. Navy helicopters responding to a cargo ship distress call, resulting in 10 fighters’ death. USS Gravely previously intercepted anti-ship ballistic missiles during an attack on Maersk Hangzhou in the Southern Red Sea.
In response to the Maersk Hangzhou attack, Maersk announced a temporary halt to Red Sea and Gulf of Aden transits, citing an ongoing investigation. Iran deployed the destroyer Alborz to secure shipping lines amid rising tensions related to Yemen’s attacks supporting Palestinians.
As Alborz entered the Red Sea, the U.S. Navy’s Ford carrier group was scheduled to return to Norfolk, Virginia, after a two-month deployment in the eastern Mediterranean. Vice Adm. Brad Cooper honored USS Carney’s crew with combat medals for shooting down 14 Houthi drones on December 16.
Despite ongoing attacks, there has been no kinetic response on Houthi facilities. Reports suggest the U.K. is considering airstrikes in coordination with the U.S., but no joint statement has been issued. The status of Operation Prosperity Guardian remains uncertain, with observed small convoy operations, and updates are awaited following recent anti-ship missile firings and reported explosions in the southern Red Sea.