A bulker that sustained serious damage and water ingress in its engine room after a double Houthi strike in the Red Sea on Wednesday can not steer under its own steam and will likely need to be towed.

According to the latest update provided by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, citing the Greek-controlled ship’s master, the vessel is “not under command of [its] crew” and is assisted by military vessels.

Several maritime intelligence firms and agencies reported that a Liberia-flagged bulker was directly hit on its stern earlier in the day.

Market and official sources are now identifying the vessel as Evalend Shipping’s 82,000-dwt Tutor (built 2022) and clarifying that it was struck twice in its engine room.

The Athens-based company did not respond to a request for comment. There have been no reports about casualties on the ship.

TradeWinds is told that the vessel was struck twice, by an airborne missile and from the sea.

Both UKMTO and maritime security firm Diaplous have described the seaborne object hitting the Tutor as “a small craft … white in colour and 5 to 7 metres in length”.

If it was a sea drone, it would be the first time the Houthis managed to hit a target with such a device.

US military forces have repeatedly claimed in the past to have intercepted and destroyed Houthi sea drones in the area. However, none of them are known to have directly hit a ship before.

The Yemeni rebel group has been using missiles, air drones, attempted boardings and a hijacking instead.

The Tutor incident was reported by the ship’s master on VHF radio at 7:10 am local time while the ship was sailing southbound about 70 nautical miles (130 km) south-west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

The Houthis had not yet claimed responsibility for any operations against a commercial vessel on Wednesday.

Repeat offenders

As a result of the Houthi threat, transits through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal have halved from levels before the crisis started in mid-November 2023, to about 35 a day, according to the Portwatch data.

Hopes for a ceasefire in the Palestinian territory have been rekindled after the UN Security Council approved a resolution to that effect on Monday.

According to wire reports, on Wednesday the US will examine a response by Hamas to the ceasefire plan, which is promoted by Washington.

However, companies steering clear of the Red Sea should not be expected to resume transits there quickly, even if a ceasefire is eventually agreed in the Gaza strip, Frontine’s chief executive officer Lars Barstad said on Wednesday.

Advisory and broking company WTW stated recently that attacks are highly likely to continue over the next six months as the Houthis have sufficient stockpiles of weaponry, despite US airstrikes on its positions within Yemen that have caused dozens of deaths.

Download the TradeWinds News app
The News app offers you more control over your TradeWinds reading experience than any other platform.