US helicopters have attacked and sunk three boats being used by the Iranian backed Houthis militants in the southern Red Sea after an attack on a Maersk container ship.
The US military said that their helicopters opened fire and several armed Houthis crew members were killed, the Denmark owned vessel had reported no injuries onboard.
The Maersk Hangzhou was hit by a missile on Saturday evening which was around 55 nuatical miles from Yemen.
In a statement US Central Command (Centcom) said that the USS Gravely and USS Laboon received a distress call and once they attended they found the vessel to still be seaworthy.
The US military said that they had shot down two anti-ship missiles that was fired towards the Maersk vessel, then several hours later the container ship issued another distress call.
They were then targeted by four Houthi attack boats and the militants fired small arms weapons at the vessel.
Helicopters from the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and the USS Gravely said that verbal warnings were issued, then the Houthis opened fire on the helicopters.
Centcom said the “US navy helicopters returned fire in self-defence” they then sunk the four boats and killed all the Houthis crew members.
UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said he has spoken to his Iranian counterpart over the Houthis militant attacks in the Red Sea, he said that this will “threaten innocent lives and the global economy.”
Lord Cameron added. “I made clear that Iran shares responsibility for preventing these attacks given their long-standing support to the Houthis.”