Houthis hijack ship in the Red Sea (archive)
Houthis hijack ship in the Red Sea (archive)Screenshot

British maritime security firm Ambrey said on Sunday that a Belize-flagged, UK-registered and Lebanese-operated open hatch general cargo ship reported being under attack in Bab al-Mandab Strait, according to Reuters.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it has received a report of an incident 35 nautical miles south of Yemen's Al Mukha, and that an explosion in close proximity to the vessel had resulted in damage.

All crew are safe, the agency said in an advisory note.

The ship was heading north during its journey from Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates to Varna, Bulgaria, when the attack occurred, Ambrey said in another note, according to Reuters.

"The partially laden vessel briefly slowed from ten to six knots and deviated course, and contacted the Djiboutian Navy, before returning to her previous course and speed," Ambrey added.

The incident comes amid ongoing tensions with the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have upped their attacks on vessels since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

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. The two countries have continued to strike Houthi targets since.

On Sunday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced it struck three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, one unmanned underwater vessel, and one unmanned surface vessel in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.