(Credit: U.S. Navy/Bill Mesta/Reuters/File)

(CNN) -- Two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen's territory controlled by Houthi rebels at a U.S. warship in the Gulf of Aden after the U.S. Navy responded to a distress call from a commercial oil tanker that had been captured by gunmen, the U.S. military said Sunday.

The tanker, identified as Central Park, was carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when its crew called for help because "it was under attack from an unknown entity," U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

The USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer, and allied ships from an anti-piracy task force operating in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia responded to the call for help and "demanded the release of the ship" upon arrival. Central Command said.

"Subsequently, five armed individuals disembarked from the boat and attempted to flee in their small boat," said the statement posted on the social network X.

"The USS Mason pursued the attackers, prompting their final surrender," the statement added, without identifying the attackers.

Hours later, at 1:41 a.m. local time Monday morning, two ballistic missiles were fired from areas controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen "toward the general location" of the USS Mason and Central Park, according to the statement.


"The missiles fell in the Gulf of Aden, approximately ten nautical miles from the ships," the statement said.

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The USS Mason was finishing its response to the Central Park distress call at the time of the missile launches. As a result, there was no damage or injuries to Central Park or the USS Mason, he added.

A statement from Zodiac Maritime, which manages Central Park, said Sunday that the Liberian-flagged tanker was safe "and that all crew, ship and cargo are unharmed."

The tanker appears to have ties to an Israeli-owned company; Zodiac Maritime is listed as a company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer's Ofer Global, although a spokesperson speaking on behalf of Zodiac Maritime, Janni Jarvinen, said Sunday that Zodiac "is not owned by Ofer Global."

Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in Sunday's statement that maritime domain security "is essential to regional stability."

"We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety of international shipping lanes," Kurilla said.