(Reuters) -Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis said on Tuesday they had fired missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea, causing damage to the ships.
The Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels with drones and missiles in the Red Sea since mid-November, in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians against Israel in the Gaza war.
The group's military spokesman said it had fired naval missiles at the Star Nasia and Morning Tide, identifying the Marshall Islands and Barbados-flagged ships, respectively, as American and British.
The Greek-owned Star Nasia, managed by Star Bulk Carrier, was damaged by an explosion at 1115 GMT, a Greek shipping ministry official said, adding that its crew were not injured.
It is unclear whether the explosion was caused by a sea mine or a rocket, the official added.
The U.S. military's Central Command said the Houthis fired three missiles at the Star Nasia, which reported minor damage but no injuries. A U.S. Navy ship operating near the Star Nasia shot down one of the missiles, Centcom said on X, formerly known as Twitter. It said the Star Nasia remained seaworthy and was continuing toward its destination.
Separately, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency and British maritime security firm Ambrey reported an explosion near a merchant vessel off Yemen's port of Aden on Tuesday.
Ambrey said the southbound Greek-owned bulk carrier had been targeted while heading through the Maritime Security Transit Corridor about 53 nautical miles southwest of Aden, en route from the U.S. to India.
Maritime monitoring service TankerTrackers.com said the vessel was carrying U.S. coal to India.
Ambrey said the second vessel, a Barbados-flagged general cargo ship owned by a British company, had suffered damage from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) while sailing south through the Red Sea.
No injuries were reported. The ship performed evasive manoeuvres and continued its journey, Ambrey said.
The owner of the Morning Tide, British firm Furadino Shipping, told Reuters the ship was currently sailing without problems, but gave no further information.
U.S. Centcom said three missiles fired by the Houthis had hit the water near the Morning Tide but caused no damage or injuries.
LSEG ship-tracking data showed the Morning Tide was heading south through the Red Sea after navigating the Suez Canal on Friday. Its most recent signal shows it sailing out of the Red Sea through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency had reported just after midnight GMT on Tuesday that a projectile had been fired at the port side of a ship located 57 nautical miles west of Hodeidah and that a small craft was seen nearby.
The projectile passed over the deck and caused slight damage to the bridge windows, but the vessel and crew were safe and proceeded on the planned passage, UKMTO added.
The Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping and forced firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to destabilise the wider Middle East.
The United States and Britain began striking Houthi targets in Yemen last month in retaliation for the attacks on Red Sea shipping.
(Reporting by Yomna Ehab in Cairo, Nayera Abdallah, Jana Choukeir and Tala Ramadan in Dubai, Renee Maltezou in Athens, Writing by Lisa Barrington in Seoul; Editing by Michael Perry, Nick Macfie and Gareth Jones)