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Montevideo, May 23rd 2024 - 08:27 UTC

 

 

EU sending naval mission to protect international shipping in the Red Sea

Tuesday, February 20th 2024 - 07:29 UTC
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The measures come in response to increased attacks by Yemen's Houthis, who have been launching missile and drone attacks in the vital shipping corridor. The measures come in response to increased attacks by Yemen's Houthis, who have been launching missile and drone attacks in the vital shipping corridor.

The European Union will be sending three European warships and airborne early warning systems to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, to protect international shipping, following a meeting of EU foreign ministers

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Monday's decision and posted on social media platform X, “Europe will ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, working alongside our international partners. Beyond crisis response, it's a step towards a stronger European presence at sea to protect our European interests.”

The EU-led mission has been named Aspides — which is the ancient Greek word for shield. The EU operation covers the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, the Strait of Hormuz, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

The measures come in response to increased attacks by Yemen's Houthis, who have been launching missile and drone attacks in the vital shipping corridor.

The Iran-backed Houthis stepped up attacks on vessels in the region in the wake of Israel's war in Gaza against Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, the US and several other governments.

The most recent attack took place on Monday and involved targeting a Belize-flagged, UK-registered cargo vessel. The ship came under attack in the Bab-al-Mandab Strait off the coast of Yemen, according to British maritime security firm Ambrey. The crew managed to abandon ship and the Houthis said the vessel was at risk of sinking.

The attacks have disrupted global shipping, and have forced shipping companies to avoid Egypt's Suez Canal, the vital waterway that connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. They instead opt for longer, costlier detours around southern Africa.

Last week, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told reporters that “as shipping through the Red Sea has been rerouted, delivery times for shipments between Asia and the EU have increased by 10-15 days, and the costs of these shipments have gone up by around 400%.”

The attacks have particularly hit the revenues of Egypt's Suez Canal, a prime source of badly-needed foreign currency for the cash-strapped country.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said on Monday that the Suez Canal revenues shrunk by “40 to 50%” so far this year, blaming the decline on the Houthi attacks

Categories: Politics, International.

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