Yemeni rebels apparently fired two ballistic missiles at the USS Mason while it was engaged in rescue operations in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday and into early Monday morning.
The ship had responded to a distress call from the M/V [Merchant Vessel] Central Park, which was under attack by an “unknown entity.”
The Mason intercepted the vessel and demanded its release, at which point, “five armed individuals” left the Central Park, got back into their own small craft, and attempted to flee the scene.
The Mason pursued, however, and took the five apparent would-be hijackers into custody.
However, at 1:41 a.m. local time, two missiles were fired from what U.S. Central Command said were “Houthi controlled areas in Yemen,” aimed at either the Mason or the Central Park. (As the missiles never got closer than 10 nautical miles from the ships, which had been targeted was probably unknown.)
The Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer first launched in 2001 and currently assigned to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, was wrapping up its response to the tanker’s distress call at the time the missiles were fired, according to the statement.
No one on either vessel was hurt, nor was any damage reported.
“Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability,” Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM commander, said in a statement posted to X.
“We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes.”
The Central Park is a Liberian-flagged tanker ship built in 2015 and capable of carrying a load of 20,000 tons, according to the Marine Traffic website.
CNN suggested that the company that managed the tanker, Zodiac Maritime, had “links” to an Israeli-owned company.
“Zodiac Maritime is listed as a business belonging to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Ofer Global,” the outlet reported, “though a spokesperson speaking on behalf of Zodiac Maritime, Janni Jarvinen, said Sunday that Zodiac “is not owned by Ofer Global.'”
You can read the entire statement from U.S. Central Command below.
On Nov. 26, the USS MASON (DDG 87), with allied ships from our coalition counter-piracy task force (TF 151), and associated aircraft responded to a distress call from the M/V CENTRAL PARK, a commercial vessel, that they were under attack by an unknown entity. Upon arrival,… pic.twitter.com/ASmM3b0xrf
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 27, 2023
Zodiac Maritime told CNN on Sunday — apparently prior to the missile launches — that the tanker was undamaged “and all of the crew, the vessel, and cargo are unharmed.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.