Oil tanker hit by missile off Yemen: security firm

Rubymar ship submerged in the Red Sea on March 7, five days after it began sinking. It was hit by a Houthi missile earlier in February. [AFP]

A crude oil tanker was hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen's rebel-held city of Mokha overlooking the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait, maritime security firm Ambrey said Saturday.

"A Panama-flagged crude oil tanker was reportedly 'attacked'" about 10 nautical miles southwest of Mokha, Ambrey said, adding that information "indicated the vessel was hit by a missile and that there was a fire in the steering gear flat".

The British Navy's maritime security agency had earlier said it received a report of a vessel "sustaining slight damage after being struck by an unknown object".

"The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call," United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) added.

It said the incident occurred 76 nautical miles (140 kilometres) off Yemen's Hodeidah, without specifying the type of vessel involved.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels, who control much of Yemen, have launched dozens of attacks on vessels in and around the Red Sea since November in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in war-torn Gaza.

The rebel attacks have prompted reprisal strikes by US and British forces and the formation of an international coalition to protect the vital shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

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