Children walk near a billboard bearing an image of ships being targeted, on the day Houthi-run Yemeni forces targeted a US ship in the Red Sea, on a street in Sanaa, Yemen, on January 10, 2024.
Muhammad Hammoud | Getty Images
An oil tanker works for Trafigura A company spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company was hit by a missile on Friday after crossing the Red Sea.
The oil ship Marlin Luanda was hit by a missile in the Gulf of Aden. The spokesman said that firefighting equipment on board the ship was being used to put out a fire in one of the cargo tanks.
“We are still in contact with the ship and monitoring the situation carefully,” Trafigura said. He added, “Military ships in the area are underway to provide assistance.”
Houthi militants claimed responsibility for the attack, describing the ship as a “British oil ship.” Trafigura said the ship was flying the Marshall Islands flag.
The militants used “an appropriate number of naval missiles, and the strike was direct and resulted in the burning of the ship,” she said. Military spokesman for the Houthis Yahya Saree said in a statement.
Houthi militants in Yemen have attacked commercial ships crossing the Red Sea since November in support of the Palestinians. The United States and the United Kingdom began a series of air strikes against the militia on January 11, aiming to deter the Iran-backed group.
Houthi militants fired a ballistic missile at the US Navy destroyer Carney in the Gulf of Aden earlier on Friday, according to US Central Command. The missile was shot down by Carney. No injuries or damage were reported, according to US Central Command.
Many of the world's major oil tanker companies halted traffic toward the Red Sea immediately after the United States and Britain began launching air strikes against the Houthis earlier this month.
The price of US crude oil settled on Friday at $78.01 per barrel to close out its best week since September 1. Global benchmark Brent crude settled at $83.55 per barrel, marking its best week since October 13.
The West Texas Intermediate crude contract for March rose 74 cents, or 0.96%, to $78.10 a barrel. The March Brent contract was trading at $83.73 a barrel, up $1.30, or 1.58%.
Oil futures have not responded significantly to rising tensions in the Middle East so far because there have been no major supply disruptions. Analysts warned that a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran could lead to a significant rise in prices.
Robert Thummel, portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital, told CNBC on Thursday that the market is not pricing enough geopolitical risk into crude oil prices. Thummel said WTI should trade at $85 right now given the tensions in the Middle East.
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