USS Mason Detains Five Pirates After Attempted Tanker Seizure, Japan Helps, China Does Not

Update (2248 EST): USCENTCOm has confirmed that the Houthis launched two ballistic missiles from Yemen at the USS Mason. The missiles fell short by 10 nautical miles and the crew of both the tanker and the Mason or safe.

As this publication reported earlier today, a coalition warship was “engaged” during an attempted seizure of Zodiac Maritime-owned tanker Central Park (IMO: 9725823) by unknown gunmen about 80km South of Aden, Yemen. U.S. media have now identified that coalition warship at the USS Mason (DDG-87).

Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams from the ships company reportedly captured five pirates after preventing them from seizing the tanker. The militants boarded the vessel, but were unable to breach the ships citadel where the crew locked themselves in. The ship then pursued the pirate vessel towards Yemen where the U.S. sailors captured the assailants. The pirates are on board undergoing interrogation.

According to those same sources, a Japanese destroyer aided the U.S. vessel while two nearby Chinese destroyers refused to provide aid. Those vessels are most likely part of the 45th Naval Escort Task Force which is currently charged with protecting the Gulf of Aden and approaches to the Chinese naval base in Djibouti. Their refusal to help the U.S. vessel demonstrates either ineptitude or the adverse political motivations of Chinese forces in the region as the Israeli-Gaza war rages on.

The Houthis have denied involvement in the failed operation while the Yemeni Southern Transitional Council has denounced Houthi operations, accusing the rebel group.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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