Two ballistic missiles were fired toward a US naval destroyer from an “unknown entity, according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
CENTCOM stated on X that its destroyer, USS Mason, received a “distress call” from the tanker—identified as the Central Park—that “they were under attack by an unknown entity.”
On Nov. 26, the USS MASON (DDG 87), with allied ships from our coalition counter-piracy task force (TF 151), and associated aircraft responded to a distress call from the M/V CENTRAL PARK, a commercial vessel, that they were under attack by an unknown entity. Upon arrival,… pic.twitter.com/ASmM3b0xrf— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 27, 2023
The USS Mason and its allied ships demanded the release of the tanker as five armed individuals attempted to flee before surrendering.
CENTCOM said two ballistic missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen on Monday, targeting the general location of the USS Mason and Central Park.
The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden, just ten nautical miles away from the ships.
“Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability,” Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander, said in a statement on X.
“We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes,” he added.
The Epoch Times reported that the tanker was carrying phosphoric acid when it was seized by attackers on Nov. 26.
The vessel’s company said its 22 crew from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam were unharmed.
“We would like to thank the coalition forces who responded quickly, protecting assets in the area and upholding international maritime law,” said the Zodiac Maritime, which managed the Central Park vessel.
Zodiac described the vessel as being owned by Clumvez Shipping Inc.
London-based Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.
According to British corporate records, two men were listed with the last name Ofer as current and former directors of Clumvez Shipping, including Daniel Guy Ofer, the director at Zodiac Maritime.
It is still unknown who is behind the attack.
The Central Park seizure came after another Israeli-owned ship, CMA CGM Symi, came under attack by an Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean.
Earlier this month, Houthi rebels seized the Galaxy Leader commercial ship in the Red Sea, taking 25 crew members hostage.
The Houthis said the ship was hijacked due to its connection to Israel and would continue to target ships linked to Israelis until the end of Israel’s operation against Hamas.
The US condemned the ship’s seizure as “a flagrant violation of international law.”
In October, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney shot down three land attack cruise missiles from Yemen that were flying toward Israel.
Global shipping is becoming increasingly targeted as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to become a wider regional conflict.