CMA CGM denies Houthi missile strike on containership Koi
Update: French carrier stated the vessel’s diversion was to assist in the medical evacuation of an ill crew member, not because it was hit by missiles as claimed by the Houthis
The Houthis claim to have hit another vessel commercially managed by Oceonix services, the 8,586 teu boxship Koi. The Houthis’ announcement came hours after the US said it destroyed a surface-to-air missile
The Iran-backed militia had previously claimed to have hit the ship.
“We understand that the vessel briefly altered course to assist in the medevac of a crew member who had fallen ill,” a CMA CGM spokesperson said in an email statement. “The claims of an attack on the vessel are not correct.”
Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows that Koi came near the boundary between Oman and Yemen around 1030 hrs GMT on January 30 and appeared to switch off its Automatic Identification System signal before entering the Gulf of Aden. The ship then showed up at the Djibouti anchorage on January 31 rather than continuing into the Red Sea and Suez Canal as scheduled.
A Houthi spokesperson said on social media platform X said the “American merchant ship” was heading to the “ports of occupied Palestine” and hit with “several appropriate naval missiles”.
“This operation occurred just a few hours after Yemeni naval forces have targeted with several naval missiles the American destroyer USS Gravely in the Red Sea, and hit was accurate and direct,” he said.
No attack has been reported to the UKMTO, and Lloyd’s List could not verify details of the incident. The Houthis have made several false claims of hitting ships since they began wreaking havoc in the Red Sea in November.
Columbia Shipmanagement, the vessel’s technical manager according to shipping database Equasis, has been approached for comment.
Contrary to the Houthis’ claim about hitting USS Gravely, US Central Command (Centcom) said the destroyer shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen late on January 30. No injuries or damage were reported.
Hours before the Houthis claimed to hit Koi on Wednesday, Centcom said it struck and destroyed a Houthi surface-to-air missile that was prepared to launch.
“US forces identified the missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that it presented an imminent threat to US aircraft,” Centcom said on X.
Centcom later said that USS Carney shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile launched by the Houthis towards the Gulf of Aden around 2030 hrs (local time). The destroyer “engaged and shot down” three Iranian drones in its vicinity 40 minutes later, Centcom said. There were no injuries or damage reported. Centcom did not make any mention of a commercial vessel being targeted.
Koi is not an “American merchant ship”, but Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows it is commercially managed by UK-based Oceonix Services, the same commercial manager as the Trafigura-operated Marlin Luanda (IMO: 9829899) that was struck by the Houthis on January 26, causing a fire in one of its cargo tanks. It also appears to be owned by the same Luxembourg-based group of investors advised by JP Morgan.
The vessel was heading towards the Gulf of Aden after departing Mundra, India on January 21, vessel-tracking data shows, signalling its destination as the Suez Canal.
Its heading broke southwest the following day, and on January 23 it began moving erratically while sailing south of Oman. Its AIS was switched off just south of the Yemen-Oman border as it was entering the Gulf of Aden on January 30, but Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows it arrived in Djibouti anchorage in the early hours of February 1 (local time).