In a significant escalation of tensions in the Red Sea, the Norwegian-flagged oil and chemical tanker M/T Strinda was the target of a missile attack in the strategically crucial Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. The incident, occurring between the night of December 11 and 12, has been attributed to a cruise missile launched from a Houthi-controlled area in Yemen.
The M/T Strinda, traversing one of the world’s most critical maritime passages, reported substantial damage following the attack, primarily due to a large fire that broke out after the missile strike. Fortunately, there have been no reported casualties to date.
In an immediate response, the USS Mason (DDG-87), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of the United States Navy, was deployed following a distress call from the Strinda.
Following the attack, videos circulated on the internet and in the media showing a tanker engulfed in flames. However, it was determined that these videos were from 2016 and thus did not depict the M/T Strinda.
This attack on the M/T Strinda is one of several similar incidents that have occurred in the Red Sea recently, amid heightened aggression by the Houthi, spurred by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Bab-el-Mandeb Strait serves as a primary route for oil tankers and other commercial vessels and has always been considered a dangerous passage due to piracy. However, the risk to ships has increasingly escalated with the Houthi regularly attacking both commercial and military vessels.
It should be noted that the attack comes days after the Houthi announced a shift in their “policy” regarding them carrying out attacks against ships in the Red Sea as well as the targeting of the french FREMM class frigate.