Houthis Confirm Attack Against Bulk Carrier with Explosive USV

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The Houthis have confirmed an attack on the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier “Tutor” in the Red Sea using an explosive surface drone, causing critical damage to the vessel.

This marks the first successful strike against a vessel using an unmanned surface vessel (USV) by the Houthi’s since attacks against commercial shipping in the region began last October.

What You Need to Know

In a statement, military spokesman Yahya Saree confirmed that Houthi forces carried out an operation targeting the “Tutor,” causing significant damage.

“The naval, missile, and UAVs forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a specific military operation targeting the ship (TUTOR) in the Red Sea, using an unmanned surface boat, number of drones, and ballistic missiles. The operation led to the ship being seriously damaged, vulnerable to sinking, thanks to Allah.”

“The ship was targeted because the company that owns the ship has violated the decision to ban entry into the ports of occupied Palestine [Israel],” he added.

Like in previous statements, Saree emphasized that attacks will continue “until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted.”

The Attack

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported that at 0714 UTC, the “Tutor” was hit on the stern by a small craft, causing the vessel to take on water 66 nautical miles southwest of Al Hudaydah, Yemen.

An attack by a “small craft” immediatley suggested the use of a USV.

Following the initial strike, the master of the vessel reported a secondary projectile struck the vessel, causing further damage.

Speaking to The War Zone, Ambrey’s Managing Director of Risk and Intelligence, Joshua Hutchinson, stated that the “Tutor” was essentially “a dead ship now” that will require salvage operations due to the extent of the damage.

So far, there have been no indications of casualties amongst the crew.

No imagery is available of the vessel.


While drone and missile attacks against commercial vessels have been ongoing, the United States reported the first deployment of a Houthi USV in the Red Sea back in January.

Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Commander Brad Cooper reported that the Houthis detonated a unmanned surface vessel (USV) loaded with explosives “within a couple of miles of US Navy and commercial ships” in the Red Sea, which came amid a “final warning” to stop attacks or face consequences.

Cooper added that the target of the drone or how/why it was detonated remains unclear. No damage was reported by nearby vessels.

The Houthis have previously used USVs to target Saudi naval assets in the region.

What Do You Think?

How should the international community respond to the increasing use of unmanned surface vessels in the Red Sea? What measures can be taken to enhance maritime security in the region?