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US Navy rescues 24 crew members after Houthi attack, 1 lost at sea

Two cargo ships are at risk of sinking in the Red Sea, abandoned by their crews after Houthi missile strikes triggered US airstrikes on radar sites controlled by the Yemeni rebels.
JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A helicopter crew dispatched by a US Navy guided missile cruiser evacuated 24 crew members from a cargo ship in the Red Sea on Saturday after a Houthi unmanned surface vessel struck the ship's engine room, disabling it and leaving one mariner who remains lost at sea.

Crews from the USS Philippine Sea, part of the USS Eisenhower's carrier strike group, retrieved the civilian crew of the Greek-owned, Liberian-flagged bulk tanker M/V Tutor on Saturday, some two days after they reported being struck by the USV.

The Houthi attack on the Tutor was the first reported successful strike on a commercial vessel using a USV. The impact caused severe damage to the engine room, causing the ship to take on water before it was abandoned by its crew.

Another civilian cargo ship, the Palau-flagged and Ukrainian-owned Verbena, was hit by two Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles in the Red Sea a day later, on June 13, before being struck again by another anti-ship missile. One of its crew was evacuated by the helicopter team dispatched from the USS Philippine Sea and underwent surgery after being taken to another coalition ship in the region.

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