Ship attacked by Houthis
Ship attacked by HouthisReuters/EYEPRESS Images

A merchant vessel in the Arabian Sea reported an explosion in close proximity to it on Monday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said, according to the Reuters news agency.

UKMTO said the crew was reported safe and the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call.

The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Joint Maritime Information Center (JMIC) later identified the vessel as Liberian-flagged container MSC SARAH V, saying it was attacked by a missile while navigating the Arabian Sea but was not hit.

The ship was sailing 246 nautical miles southeast of Yemen's Nishtun.

The ship reported a missile landing in the water approximately 50 meters off the starboard side of the ship, JMIC said.

"The vessel was likely attacked due to perceived Israeli association," JMIC added.

There was no immediate comment on Monday’s incident from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who have been targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea region since November, in what they say are attacks in solidarity with Palestinian Arabs in Gaza.

On Sunday, a drone attack damaged a merchant ship in the Red Sea near Yemen, two maritime security agencies said, as the Houthi rebels announced naval attacks in the vital trade route.

On Saturday, the Houthis claimed that they attacked the US aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea, but two US officials disputed that claim.

In addition to claiming to have attacked the Eisenhower, the Houthis also said they attacked a commercial ship, Transworld Navigator, in the Arabian Sea.

In the wake of the uptick in Houthi attacks, the US formed a coalition, made up of more than 20 countries, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in the Red Sea from attacks by the Houthis.

In mid-January, with support from other countries, the US and Britain targeted just under 30 Houthi locations with 150 different weapons. They have since carried out several rounds of strikes against Houthi targets.

The Houthis have been unfazed by the strikes, saying that the campaign against the "Zionist enemy" will continue and that the attacks against the American and British ships will not stop.