NewsHouthi drone attacks on US and coalition ships elevate Red Sea tensions

Houthi drone attacks on US and coalition ships elevate Red Sea tensions

American ship in the Red Sea
American ship in the Red Sea
Images source: © EPA, PAP | MC2 AARON LAU

12:58 PM EDT, March 29, 2024

Houthi fighters in Yemen have once again launched an attack in the Red Sea, targeting a coalition vessel and a US warship with drones. The US Central Command reported that the intercepted drones were a direct threat to merchant and naval ships in the area.

The incident, which took place on Thursday, involved the US military neutralizing four unmanned drones. These drones, launched by Iran-backed Houthi forces, were directed at a US warship and a coalition ship navigating the Red Sea.

Through a statement on the social media platform X, the US Central Command highlighted the potential danger the drones presented to vessels within the region. No injuries or damage were reported on the warship or coalition ship despite the attack.

The frigate Alsace during the shooting down of three ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi rebels.
The frigate Alsace during the shooting down of three ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi rebels.© X (dawniej Twitter) | Casus Belli

World trade under pressure

These recent attacks have severely disrupted maritime trade routes, once responsible for 12 percent of global commerce. Vessels now need to detour around the southern tip of Africa, resulting in a doubling of sea freight costs from East Asia to Europe.

Furthermore, Egypt has experienced the repercussions of decreased traffic through the Suez Canal. Prime Minister Mustafa Madbuli reported a drop of over 50 percent in revenues due to the Houthi assaults in the Red Sea. He shared these insights during conversations with a US Congressional delegation.
In a significant development on Thursday, March 21, a meeting in Oman featuring discussions between Mohammed Abdel Salam, a senior political representative of the Yemeni Houthi movement, and diplomats from Russia and China was reported by Bloomberg, based on accounts from informed sources. The dialogue, aimed at ensuring the safe passage of Russian and Chinese ships through the Red Sea, resulted in the Houthis promising no attacks on their vessels in exchange for political support at international forums like the UN, potentially to prevent resolutions against the movement.
However, contradicting these guarantees, the Houthis reportedly attacked a Chinese tanker on Saturday. The assault involved the firing of missiles near the Huang Pu tanker, owned by China, with one missile striking the vessel, causing damage and starting a fire, which was later extinguished, as stated by the US Central Command.
See also