NewsEU launches maritime operation to restore navigation freedom in Red Sea and Persian Gulf

EU launches maritime operation to restore navigation freedom in Red Sea and Persian Gulf

French warship in the Red Sea (illustrative picture)
French warship in the Red Sea (illustrative picture)
Images source: © Getty Images | Luke Dray
11:11 AM EST, February 19, 2024

According to Josep Borrell, the head of the European Union's diplomacy, this decision is prompted by the necessity to guarantee maritime security and freedom of navigation in this crucial maritime corridor.

"The operation will significantly contribute to protecting commercial interests and security for the benefit of both the European Union and the broader international community," stressed Borrell.

As per the plan, the navies of EU member states will participate in this operation in an area that has been subjected to multiple attacks by Houthi fighters against merchant ships since October 2023.

The operation's command will be under the supervision of Commander Vasilios Griparis. The force, on the other hand, will be led by Rear Admiral Stefano Costantino. The operation headquarters will be set up in the Greek city of Larisa.

Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea

The Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Oman have been under numerous Houthi attacks targeting ships since October 2023. Such assaults threaten ship crews' safety and infringe the right to transit through straits used for international navigation, as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

On January 10, 2024, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in which it strongly condemned the Houthi attacks on merchant ships and demanded their immediate halt, asserting that the rights and navigation freedoms of merchant ships, by international law, should be honoured. The resolution also highlighted the right of countries to defend their ships from attacks.

Since November, Yemeni Houthi rebels have been repeatedly attacking ships in the Red Sea, claiming that by doing so, they support the actions of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas and its conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

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