A German frigate sent to help secure merchant shipping in the Red Sea has successfully repelled an attack by Huthi rebels, the army said overnight to Wednesday.

The "Hesse" navy frigate intercepted a drone on Tuesday evening, the army said on X, formerly Twitter.

"A short time later, a second drone approached (the ship). The crew again initiated defence measures and also successfully engaged the target," the army said.

"There was no personal injury or damage to property on the frigate," it added.

The attack took place at around 9:30 pm (2030 GMT), sources told AFP on Wednesday.

The "Hesse" was sent to the region as part of an EU mission launched on February 19 to help protect international shipping in the Red Sea from attacks by Yemen's Huthis.

The Huthis, who control much of war-torn Yemen, have been attacking the vital shipping lane since November in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The United States is spearheading its own naval coalition in the area and has conducted strikes on the Huthis in Yemen along with Britain.

The EU's 27 countries managed to agree the Red Sea mission in a matter of weeks as concerns mount that the Huthi attacks could damage their economies and push up inflation.

The Hesse arrived in the region at the weekend after the German parliament approved its participation in the mission on Friday, according to the army.

France, Italy and Belgium have also said they plan to contribute ships.