DUBAI (Reuters) -British maritime security firm Ambrey said on Monday that a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk carrier was targeted by missiles in two incidents within two minutes while transiting through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The bulker was reportedly hit and suffered damage to its the starboard side, Ambrey added.

Ambrey had first reported that the carrier had sighted a projectile near the vessel 23 nautical miles (43km) northeast of Djibouti’s Khor Angar and 40 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Mokha.

Ambrey added that the bulker was reportedly headed to Bandar Imam Khomeini, a city in Iran.

“The group owner and operator regularly trade bulk cargo with Iran, so this was assessed to be the likely destination,” the firm added.

The group owner of the bulker was listed on the U.S. stock market index NASDAQ, which was identified as the likely reason for the attack, Ambrey added.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said early on Monday it had received a report of an incident 40 nautical miles (74 km) south of Mokha, where the ship reported it had been attacked by two missiles.

The crew were unharmed, UKMTO said, and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call, UKMTO said.

Iran-aligned Houthi militants in Yemen, who control the country’s most densely populated regions, have repeatedly dispatched drones and fired missiles at commercial ships since mid-November.

They say the attacks are a response to Israel’s military actions in Gaza. The campaign has rocked global shipping, leading several companies to halt Red Sea journeys and opt for a longer and more expensive route around Africa.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; Writing by Tala Ramadan; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Gerry Doyle)

Brought to you by