In a recent maritime incident in the southern Red Sea, the USS Mason (DDG 87), an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer of the United States Navy, once again played a crucial role in preventing an attack by Houthi forces from Yemen on a commercial vessel, the Ardmore Encounter.
Around 08:30 local time in Sanaa on December 13, the USS Mason responded to a distress call from the Ardmore Encounter, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker under attack and attempted piracy. Initially, Houthi forces from Yemen tried to board the tanker using small boats, but the USS Mason’s intervention thwarted their efforts. The announcement from CENTCOM does not clarify whether these Houthi forces were destroyed by the USS Mason during the failed boarding attempt.
Following the unsuccessful piracy attempt, Houthi forces escalated their aggression by launching two missiles from areas within Yemen. The targets were the Ardmore Encounter, but the missiles missed their mark.
In immediate response, the USS Mason utilized its air defense capabilities to protect itself, successfully intercepting and destroying an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launched by Houthi forces. The UAV was headed directly towards the USS Mason, reminiscent of a similar incident on November 27.
At approximately 0830 (Sanaa time) on December 13, in the southern Red Sea, the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) was responding to a mayday call from the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Motor Vessel Ardmore Encounter, which was under attack from… pic.twitter.com/JRlTNGNrgt— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 14, 2023
With the assistance of the USS Mason, the Ardmore Encounter was able to continue its journey without further complications. This incident is not isolated, representing a unique situation where the United States has shown restraint, refraining from immediate aggression against the Houthi forces. The reasons for this measured response are varied, with the risk of a general conflagration in the region being a significant factor.
However, pressure from U.S. Senators on the Biden administration for a robust and immediate response may, at some point, lead to destructive consequences for the region. Especially as the Houthi forces continue to invoke Allah and expand their actions to target all ships heading towards Israel. The situation remains dynamic, and the international community closely watches developments in the region.