Houthi Attack on MSC Orion Raises Concerns for Maritime Security in Indian Ocean

Details of the attack on the MSC Orion (158,000) were confirmed by maritime security forces, indicating a troubling extension of the Houthi's drone range. The vessel, 300-400 nautical miles from Yemen, reported an explosion from a "Uncrewed Aerial System." Experts believe Iran-made drones are being used, posing new challenges for shipping routes.
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The attack on the MSC Orion by Houthi forces was confirmed by maritime security forces, raising concerns as the vessel was at a greater distance from Yemen, possibly indicating an extended range of Houthi drones. The UK Maritime Trade Organizations and Joint Maritime Information Center confirmed the attack, which occurred in the Indian Ocean over 300 nautical miles east-southeast of the Horn of Africa. The ship sustained minor damage from an explosion believed to be caused by an “Uncrewed Aerial System,” but the crew was unharmed and the ship continued its journey to Salalah, Oman.

The Houthi had previously threatened to expand their attacks to the Indian Ocean, disrupting ships diverting from the Red Sea. This attack on the MSC Orion is the first confirmed at such distances, with the Houthi believed to be using drones manufactured in Iran. The incident highlights the potential dangers for shipping in the region, as evidenced by previous attacks on vessels like the Marlin Luanda and True Confidence, which were struck by missiles while offshore.

Security analysts warn of the implications of this attack on shipping routes, as vessels have already been forced to take longer routes to avoid the dangers posed by Houthi attacks. The use of drones with extended ranges by the Houthi raises concerns for maritime security in the region, with Iran claiming capabilities of over 650 nautical miles for its drones and possibly further for its missiles. Monitoring operations have not specifically commented on the distance of this attack, but the incident underscores the ongoing threat to maritime traffic in the area.

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