Incident Alert – Vessel Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) Attack in the Red Sea

Date: 12 June 2024 at 1435 UTC Position: 13° 42’N 042° 04’E

Location: Approximately 66nm southwest of Al Hudaydah, Yemen

Incident Details

UKMTO incident 083 states that a vessel was attacked 66nm southwest of Al Hudaydah, Yemen by a waterborne improvised explosive device (WBIED) and an airborne projective. This has caused significant damage to the vessel, with reports of the ship taking on water.

Vessel Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) Attack in the Red Sea
Vessel Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED)


The WBIED used was reportedly a small white craft between 5-7 metres in length. This is the first time the Houthis have used waterborne delivery systems to attack passing vessels in this conflict. Within 24 hours of this incident, two more vessels have been attacked by the Houthis in the Red Sea by aerial explosive projectiles.


This attack indicates a diversification in tactics used by the rebel group. By using additional means of payload delivery, this is almost certainly a way of evading coalition efforts to intercept incoming projectiles. It is unclear at this stage what the WBIED was, although it is likely it was a small vessel that was adapted to be controlled remotely. This is an effective means of payload delivery due to the low cost and the ability for heavier explosives to be delivered to the target. Additionally, it is more difficult to ensure positive identification of the craft as a threat, which may reduce interception rates. With an increased rate of attacks on vessels within the past 24 hours, it is likely that a renewed effort to disrupt shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden is intended with greater lethality. It is recommended that crews maintain a lookout for suspicious objects in the sea when transiting these waters. The use of additional guards to act as lookouts and security advisors will assist in reducing risk.