Unidentified armed individuals were believed to have seized the oil tanker Central Park in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, a US defence official said.
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since a brutal war between Israel and Hamas broke out on October 7.
It followed a seizure of an Israeli-linked cargo ship by Yemen Houthis, allies of Iran, in the southern Red Sea last week. The group, which also fired ballistic missiles and armed drones at Israel, vowed to target more Israeli vessels.
“US and coalition forces are in the vicinity and we are closely monitoring the situation,” the US official said.
Central Park, a small oil tanker (19,998 metric tonnes), is managed by the Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime Ltd, a London-headquartered international ship management company, LSEG data showed.
There was no immediate comment from Houthi officials.
The United States has blamed Iran for unclaimed attacks on several vessels in the region in the past few years. Tehran has denied involvement.
A container ship managed by an Israeli-controlled company was hit by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean, causing minor damage to the vessel but no injuries, a US defence official said on Saturday.
Hamas fighters entered Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people. Since then, Israel has rained bombs on Gaza, killing about 14,000 people, roughly 40% of them children, Palestinian health authorities say.
Thirteen Israelis and four Thai nationals arrived in Israel early on Sunday after a second release of hostages held by Hamas following an initial delay caused by a dispute about aid delivery into Gaza.