UKMTO reports incident offshore Eritrea’s Assab, authorities investigating

CAIRO (Reuters) – The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organization early on Tuesday received a report of a small craft circling a vessel in the Red Sea about 57 nautical miles northwest of Eritrea’s Assab.

Vessel and crew were reported safe and are proceeding to their next port after security personnel on the ship “fired warning shots and small craft departed,” UKMTO said in an advisory note.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militants have stepped up attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea in protest against Israel’s war in Gaza. Various shipping lines have suspended operations, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.

The Houthi movement will expand its targets in the Red Sea region to include U.S. ships, an official from the Iran-allied group said on Monday, as it vowed to keep up attacks after U.S. and British strikes on its sites in Yemen.

(Reporting by Enas Alashray; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)