Sailors Recount Houthi Attack and U.S. Navy Rescue

Sailors Recount Houthi Attack and U.S. Navy Rescue

The crew of the Tutor, a Greek-owned bulk carrier sailing across the Red Sea to India, were on the deck on a sunny morning last week when they spotted in the distance what looked like a fishing vessel with two people aboard. The crew members thought it was nothing unusual, but moments later, the ship captain said, they noticed a vessel rushing toward their ship.

The boat appeared to be remote-controlled — the fishermen they thought they had glimpsed were dummies — and crew members shouted, “Inside! Inside!” as they raced for cover, according to a video one of them posted on Facebook. The boat collided with their ship and exploded, shattering glass windows on the bridge of their vessel and submerging the engine room in seawater and oil, the captain said.

“We were all scared,” the captain, Christian Domrique, said on Monday in Manila, where he and the crew members, all of whom are from the Philippines, were brought after the U.S. Navy airlifted them from the stricken vessel. “It was the first time for all of us to experience that.”

It was one of the more dramatic episodes in recent months in the Red Sea, where the Houthi militia in Yemen has stepped up missile and drone attacks against ships in what it says is a campaign to pressure Israel to end the war in Gaza.

Twenty-one sailors including the captain were rescued from the Tutor; one crew member, who was in the engine room at the time of the collision, is still missing, according to Mr. Domrique and Philippine government officials.

Mr. Domrique, who spoke on behalf of the crew members at a news conference arranged by the Philippine government, said that all of them had stayed on the bridge of the ship after the attack while he contacted the shipowner, the Philippine government and the U.S. Navy, which has been patrolling the waters to deter Houthi attacks. He also warned nearby ships to avoid their location.

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