US Navy helicopters sink Houthi rebel boats attacking Red Sea commercial shipping
Aviation elements of the US Navy sank three small boats operated by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia after their crews failed to board a commercial ship in the southern Red Sea earlier this week, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed via social media.
Helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely were deployed in response to a distress call sent by the crew of the container vessel Maersk Hangzhou saying that they were under attack off the coast of Yemen at around 06:30 local time on Sunday, December 31.
CENTCOM said the small boats, originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, fired crew-served and small arms weapons at Maersk Hangzhou, approached to within 20 metres of the vessel, and attempted to board the vessel. The contract embarked security team on the containership then returned fire.
The US Navy helicopters responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats, the small boats fired upon the helicopters with crew-served weapons and small arms.
The helicopters returned fire in self-defence, sinking three of the four small boats and killing some of the crews. The fourth boat then fled the area.
CENTCOM added that there was no damage to US personnel or equipment.
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