2 Ballistic Missiles Fired Toward US Destroyer Aiding Israel-Linked Tanker

The U.S. military says the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer received a ‘distress call’ from the Israel-linked tanker that it was under attack.
2 Ballistic Missiles Fired Toward US Destroyer Aiding Israel-Linked Tanker
The tanker Central Park. (Zodiac Maritime via AP)
Aldgra Fredly

Two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen toward a U.S. naval destroyer aiding an Israel-linked tanker that had been seized by attackers in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 26, according to the U.S. military.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) stated on X that its destroyer, USS Mason, received a “distress call” from the tanker—identified as the Central Park—that it was “under attack by an unknown entity.”

Upon arrival, the USS Mason and its allied ships demanded the release of the tanker. Five armed individuals attempted to flee but were pursued by the U.S. destroyer, resulting in their eventual surrender.

CENTCOM didn’t identify the attackers but said that two ballistic missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen on early Nov. 27, targeting the general location of the USS Mason and Central Park.

The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden, approximately 10 nautical miles away from the ships. According to CENTCOM, there was no report of damage or injuries from either vessel due to the incident.

“Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability,” Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander, said in a statement on X.

“We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes.”

The tanker was carrying phosphoric acid when it was seized by attackers on Nov. 26. The vessel’s company said its 22 crew from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam were unharmed.

“We would like to thank the coalition forces who responded quickly, protecting assets in the area and upholding international maritime law,” said Zodiac Maritime, which managed the Central Park vessel.

The shipping company described the vessel as being owned by Clumvez Shipping Inc., though other records directly link Zodiac Maritime as the owner. London-based Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

British corporate records listed two men with the last name Ofer as current and former directors of Clumvez Shipping, including Daniel Guy Ofer, who’s also a director at Zodiac Maritime. It remains unclear who was behind the attack.

Previous Attack

The Central Park seizure comes after a container ship, CMA CGM Symi, owned by another Israeli billionaire, came under attack by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean. Iran hasn’t acknowledged carrying out the attack.
On Nov. 19, Houthi rebels seized the Galaxy Leader commercial ship in the Red Sea and took its 25 crew members hostage.

The Houthis said they hijacked the ship over its connection to Israel and would continue to target ships in international waters that were linked to or owned by Israelis until the end of Israel’s operation against Hamas.

The United States has condemned the ship’s seizure as “a flagrant violation of international law” and demanded the release of hostages.

On Oct. 19, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney shot down three land attack cruise missiles and several drones launched from Yemen that were flying toward Israel. The U.S. Navy has attributed these drone and cruise missile launches to Houthi forces in Yemen.

The attacks come as global shipping increasingly finds itself targeted in the weeks-long war that threatens to become a wider regional conflict—even as a truce has halted fighting and Hamas exchanges hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.