US Announces 10-Nation Coalition To Combat Threats On Red Sea Navigation

Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, declared on Tuesday that more large shipping companies were being forced to reroute due to strikes by Iran-backed Houthi insurgents in Yemen and that the US was spearheading a worldwide operation to protect trade in the Red Sea.

The Houthis, reacting to Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, have intensified the missile as well as drone attacks they started last month against foreign vessels transiting the Red Sea. Due to this week’s attacks, several freight firms, including Maersk and oil giant BP were compelled to reroute cargo that would have otherwise gone via the Suez Canal, resulting in longer travel times and incurring greater expenses.

Red Sea
Image for representation purpose only

Ten weeks into Israel’s battle with Hamas, the Palestinian organization in control of Gaza, the US and its allies are aligned with Israel, while Iran, as well as its Arab proxy forces, are on the side of Hamas, raising the possibility of a wider regional conflict.

Austin added that countries involved in the Red Sea security operation included the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, and Spain. Austin is currently on a trip to Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s Middle East headquarters. The group will patrol together in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea.

Austin launched the program as “Operation Prosperity Guardian” in a statement, calling for collective action in response to this global crisis. Ministers from around 40 countries convened virtually, and Austin urged other governments to join him in denouncing the “reckless Houthi actions.”

However, there are still a lot of unresolved concerns following Austin’s revelation, such as how many other nations are prepared to assist commercial ships that are under attack and shoot down the Houthi missiles as well as drones, as has been done mostly by American warships in recent days.

Later, France declared that it would support the endeavour to halt Houthi attacks. Even after Austin made its declaration on Tuesday, shipping companies kept changing their routes. After pausing its Red Sea shipping, Danish company Maersk stated that it would continue to sail its vessels around Africa indefinitely.

Numerous other vessels continued to navigate the canal. LSEG data revealed that armed guards are on board a number of ships currently in operation. Per industry sources, insurance costs and lengthier routes would be the immediate burdens; the effect on global trade would rely on how long the crisis continued.

The Houthis, who rule over major portions of destitute Yemen, have issued warnings to foreign maritime companies not to do business with Israeli ports and vowed to attack any ship going to Israel, irrespective of its country. Additionally, they have launched missiles over a thousand miles toward Israel.

The U.S.-led security measure, the organization claimed on Tuesday, would not dissuade them. The prospective boarding attempt was reported to British maritime security major Ambrey on Tuesday when it was added that all crew members were safe, and the raid failed 17 miles west of Yemen’s coastal city of Aden.

Following the establishment of the new maritime operation, it is unknown how many nations will send extra ships or patrol aircraft. The U.S. Navy previously had a Red Sea task force which had strengthened its presence in the vital waterway. Per relevant officials, the new operation spearheaded by the United States will be commanded by the same command structures.

Thus far, several of the US’s primary Arab allies have declined to enlist. On Monday, the Houthis declared that two cargo ships in the area had been attacked by drones. Per their statements, the Houthis were ready to take on alliances that the US would build.

The situation was expanding to include energy supplies, as evidenced by oil company BP’s choice to temporarily halt all transit via the Red Sea and the announcement by oil tanker group Frontline that its vessels would not pass through the waterway. On Monday, the worries caused the price of crude oil to rise.

After Hamas massacred 1,200 Israelis in an attack on October 7, Western nations supported Israel’s military campaign against the group. In response, Israel launched a massive bombing and the invasion of Gaza, killing over 19,000 Palestinians. While on a Monday visit to Israel, Austin publicly accused Iran of being behind the Houthi strikes. He declared that Iran must cease its support of the Houthi attacks on commercial vessels.

Reference: Reuters

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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