Amidst recent attacks on vessels navigating the southern Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden, a pivotal moment in naval warfare unfolds as a video surfaces, capturing the impact of a Houthi anti-ship missile on the M/V Zografia.
The footage, obtained from the closed circuit camera system aboard the targeted M/V Zografia, showcases the striking impact of the anti-ship missile, raising questions about the type of missile used. While the Central Command (CENTCOM) initially reported it as an ASBM strike, closer examination suggests characteristics resembling anti-ship cruise missiles like the Quds Z-0. The ambiguity arises from the video’s limitations and the challenge of conclusively identifying the missile type.
The M/V Zografia, hit in the Red Sea three days prior, experienced a sizable explosion between the middle and bow of the ship at a high speed and a 45-degree angle. Despite the vessel’s beam being publicly stated as 105 feet, determining the missile’s exact length remains challenging from the available still frame. The Houthi’s Asef ASBM, derived from Iran’s Fateh-313, is approximately 30 feet long, making it a potential candidate.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the missile type, the geopolitical significance of the naval activities off Yemen cannot be overstated. With a comparatively rudimentary arsenal, the Houthi rebels become the first to deploy ASBMs in anger. The historic moment in naval warfare unfolds against the backdrop of a major crisis, as evidenced by the Houthi statement condemning Israeli navigation in the Red and Arab Bahrain.
While the video provides a crew’s perspective on the attack, the introduction of ASBMs adds a layer of complexity to an already tense maritime security situation. The ongoing developments underscore the evolving nature of naval warfare and raise questions about the geopolitical implications of Houthi missile capabilities in the face of more advanced adversaries.