Face-off Between Pirates and U.S. Forces Begins as Attacks on Israeli-Linked Ships Escalate

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-11-27 04:21 PM UTC


A U.S. force in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen rescued an Israeli-linked ship from being seized by pirates on Sunday. This came after the U.S. Central Command received a distress call from an Israeli-linked ship, Central Park, which sails under the flag of Liberia.

The USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer, arrived on Sunday near the Gulf of Aden and demanded the ship and its crew be released. After the arrival of the U.S. destroyer and other military ships, five armed pirates debarked the tanker onto a boat and tried to escape. However, according to the U.S. Central Command, the pirates were soon captured after a brief pursuit, and the ship and its crew were safe.

Head of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Michael E. Kurilla said in a statement early Monday, "Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability." He added, "We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes."

Yemen's internationally recognized government, which operates in Aden, accuses the Houthi group of attacking the Israeli-linked ship in the Gulf of Aden. It said in a statement, "The Yemeni government has renewed its denunciation of the acts of maritime piracy carried out by the terrorist Houthi militias with the support of the Iranian regime." The statement said the most recent act of maritime piracy was the hijacking of the Central Park on Sunday.

Hours after foiling the seizure of the ship, two ballistic missiles launched from Yemen towards the U.S. destroyer. The U.S. Central Command said the missiles splashed in the water around 10 miles from the USS Mason. It indicated that the missile attack caused no damage or injuries.

The Central Command said the missiles were fired early Monday morning local time as the American ship was "concluding its response" to the distress call of the vessel that the militants attacked.

On November 16, U.S. officials said a U.S. Navy warship intercepted a drone that was moving toward the ship as it sailed in the southern Red Sea. These attacks come amidst the increasing presence of American forces in the Red Sea in line with the Gaza-Israel war.

In late September, the specialized naval forces of the Houthi group received intensive training in Al-Luhaya area of Al-Hudaydah off the Red Sea, informed sources told Sheba Intelligence. The sources indicated that the training focused on the mechanism of ship piracy, the use of sea mines, kidnappings, and weapons smuggling. Foreign experts delivered the training for the Houthi naval force.

The Houthi group vowed to continue attacking all Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea or anywhere else, saying their attacks on Israel will not stop unless Israel stops its war on Gaza.

Since November 19, three Israeli-linked ships have been attacked. The details of the ships and assaults are summarized as follows:

Name of the ship

Owner of the ship

Date of the attack

Type of attack

Location of the attack


Number of Crew

Galaxy Leader

Galaxy Maritime Ltd

November 19


The Red Sea off Yemen

Houthi Group



Israeli billionaire

November 24

Drone attack

Indian Ocean

Iranian suspected attack


Central Park

Israel's Ofer family

November 26

Attempted Seizure

Gulf of Aden-Yemen

Armed militants