EU Approves Naval Mission in Red Sea Amid Escalating Houthi Attacks

Brussels – February 19, 2024

EU Approves Naval Mission in Red Sea

European Union foreign ministers have greenlit Operation Aspides, a naval mission to safeguard international shipping in the Red Sea. This response comes as Houthi rebels escalate their attacks on vessels in the region, creating disruptions and rerouting of global shipping. 

The mission, involving three European warships and airborne early warning systems, aims to bolster security in critical waterways, including the “Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.”

The Houthi attacks, intensifying after Israel’s actions in Gaza against Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, have raised concerns about the safety of maritime routes. The most recent attack targeted a Belize-flagged, UK-registered cargo vessel, leading to its abandonment by the crew off the Yemeni coast. 

As a result, global shipping faces increased delivery times of 10-15 days and a staggering 400% surge in shipment costs, according to EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

Germany has already dispatched the frigate “Hessen” with around 240 personnel to contribute to the multinational effort. The operation spans key waterways, such as the “Strait of Bab al-Mandab, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf.”

The EU’s decisive move underscores a commitment to ensuring the security of vital maritime routes and mitigating the economic impact of the disruptions caused by Houthi attacks.

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