Abyssal Steel Impact: Houthi Missile Strikes American Vessel

Gibraltar Eagle
Gibraltar EagleImage Source: Marine Links


In a seismic event, a Houthi-launched anti-ship ballistic missile struck the steel laden Gibraltar Eagle, a US-owned dry bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden. The first American-owned ship hit during the ongoing Houthi assault in Yemen, the vessel reported no significant damage, continuing its journey. The incident has sparked concerns over maritime safety, prompting shipping reroutes and escalating tensions. Analysts deem it a blatant act of terrorism, emphasizing the geopolitical ramifications of such attacks.


A tremor resonates through maritime corridors as the Gibraltar Eagle, a US-owned dry bulk carrier, becomes the latest victim of a Houthi-launched anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden. This ominous event marks the first instance of an American-owned vessel being targeted amid the ongoing Houthi assault in Yemen.

The Gibraltar Eagle, a 64,000 metric tons vessel carrying steel products, from Korea epitomizes the vulnerability of maritime traffic in the face of geopolitical unrest. Its resilience amid adversity becomes a symbolic representation of the broader challenges faced by international shipping in navigating perilous waters.

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed the strike, attributing it to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. Astonishingly, the vessel, sailing under the Marshall Islands flag and owned by a Connecticut-based company, reported no injuries or significant damage, defiantly continuing its journey through tumultuous waters.

Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, labels the attack as a blatant act of terrorism. He contends that the Houthi militia deploys violence against civilian targets to advance their political agenda.

The repercussions of this assault extend beyond the immediate incident. Just days prior, a Houthi-launched anti-ship cruise missile targeted the USS Laboon, a Navy destroyer patrolling the Southern Red Sea. While the missile was intercepted, the incident underscores heightened tensions in the region.

In response to the escalating threats, commercial shipping takes evasive maneuvers, avoiding transiting the Red Sea. The ripple effect is evident as bunker prices and tanker rates continue to climb, with the number of ships diverting voyages skyrocketing. Swathes of tanker owners and container shipping operators suspend Red Sea voyages, opting for the longer and safer route around the Cape of Good Hope.


As the Gibraltar Eagle charts its course through the aftermath of a Houthi missile strike, the maritime realm faces turbulence. The incident, labeled an act of terrorism, amplifies geopolitical tensions and underscores the fragility of civilian targets in the theater of conflict. The maritime community, adapting to the security risks, redirects its routes, impacting bunker prices and pushing ships to take the longer path around the Cape of Good Hope. The resilience of vessels like the Gibraltar Eagle becomes emblematic of the industry's steadfastness amid tumultuous geopolitical waters.

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