The attack, which caused minor damage but no injuries, marks the first instance of the Houthis targeting an Iran-bound ship amidst their ongoing attacks on international shipping.

The U.S. Central Command reported the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen towards the Bab al-Mandeb. The MV Star Iris, carrying a cargo of corn from Brazil, sustained minor damage but remains seaworthy, with no harm to its crew. The vessel's destination is Bandar Iman Khomeini, Iran.

While Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree claimed the ship was American, maritime-shipping trackers confirmed its Greek ownership. The attack is seen by regional security officials as an attempt to showcase Houthi independence from Iranian control, and it was reportedly communicated to Tehran in advance.

Since mid-November, Houthi militants have targeted international commercial ships, focusing on vessels with ties to the United States, Britain, or Israel. This has prompted some companies to alter their routes, opting for longer and costlier journeys around Africa. Retaliatory strikes by U.S. and British warplanes have been carried out across Yemen.

The MV Star Iris, a large panamax bulk carrier managed by Athens-headquartered Star Bulk Carriers, suffered damage to its starboard side, according to British maritime security firm Ambrey. The vessel, reportedly headed to Bandar Imam Khomeini, Iran's major grains terminal, is proceeding to its next port of call. The crew remains unharmed.

Despite the incident, Iranian officials have not provided any comment. It is noteworthy that Iran's food commodities trade is exempt from U.S. sanctions.

For now, the maritime community remains vigilant as tensions in the region impact shipping routes and vessel movements.