Houthi rebels are believed to have launched at least one fresh attack on an Ardmore Shipping vessel on Wednesday.

The Irish tanker owner confirmed that the 49,500-dwt Ardmore Encounter (built 2014) had come under attack while transiting the Red Sea.

The company said no one was hurt and that the ship sustained no damage.

“We would like to thank the captain and crew of the Ardmore Encounter for their calm and professional actions during the attack, as well as the armed guards onboard and the naval assistance provided in defending the vessel,” chief executive Anthony Gurnee said in a statement.

Ardmore said the ship was carrying jet fuel from India to the Netherlands and Sweden.

According to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) the chemical tanker came under fire in the vicinity of the Bab-El-Mandeb strait 50 nautical miles (93 kilometres) west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah at 6:45 am local time (0345 GMT).

Maritime security firm Diaplous said armed persons on a speed boat approached the vessel after its crew refused to comply with Yemeni calls to change its northbound course.

Up to 10 rounds of bullets were fired on the ship, from a distance of 300 metres. When the vessel continued on its course under the protection and instructions of a nearby warship, Yemeni actors fired two missiles at it.

“One missile was reportedly intercepted, while the second exploded approximately 200 yards from the tanker’s stern,” Diaplous said.

Further attacks

The attack in the Red Sea was not the only one in the region on Wednesday.

UKMTO said it has also received reports about a second incident 90 nautical miles south of Al Duqm, a port in Oman in the Arabian Sea that is quite some distance from Yemeni waters.

Shipping in the region has already been on high alert since last month, when the Houthi regime that controls large swathes of Yemen started attacking commercial vessels to put pressure on Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza.

The alert status was raised further on Saturday, when the Houthis announced they would no longer attack just ships they consider to be controlled by Israeli interests, but any vessel calling at Israeli ports regardless of its nationality.

The Houthis followed up on their threat late on Monday, when they fired a missile on the Norwegian-owned, 20,000-dwt chemical tanker Strinda (built 2006) as it was crossing the Bab al-Mandab.

The vessel is a Norwegian-flagged chemical tanker in the ownership of J Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi.

According to the Bergen-based company, the Strinda caught fire but none of its all-Indian crew suffered any injuries and they managed to put out the blaze.

The Strinda had a charter agreement in place to call at Ashdod in Israel in January.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels confirmed the missile attack, claiming the Strinda had ignored their warnings to change course.

The Houthis could have learned this from an internet search, because the port’s website listed the ship as a future arrival.

The website was quickly blocked.

A ship at the entrance to the Suez Canal, which leads to the Red Sea. Photo: Bloomberg

Now the National Security Council of Israel has issued an urgent instruction to the country’s terminals to remove information about the arrivals and departures of ships from their websites, Globes daily reported.