NewsInternational coalition launches 'Prosperity Guardian' operation to protect Red Sea trade amid Houthi attacks

International coalition launches 'Prosperity Guardian' operation to protect Red Sea trade amid Houthi attacks

Cargo ships in the Red Sea are not safe.
Cargo ships in the Red Sea are not safe.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2023 Anadolu
7:03 AM EST, December 19, 2023

Austin, currently visiting Bahrain, home to the primary US Navy in the Middle East, stated that countries joining the Prosperity Guardian operation include the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, Spain, and Bahrain. Austin announced that these nations will conduct joint patrols in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

"This is an international challenge that necessitates collective action. Therefore, I'm announcing today the initiation of the Prosperity Guardian operation—a significant multi-national security initiative," Austin stated in his Tuesday announcement.

However, a representative of the Houthi Yemeni militia authorities, Mohammed al-Buchaiti, earlier stated in a Monday interview with Al-Jazeera television that he expects a response. He acknowledged that many countries, including the USA, are attempting to make indirect contact with the Houthis, persuading them to "cease their actions". He warned that his movement is prepared for a confrontation with any international coalition.

During his Israel visit, Austin said he is "arranging an international meeting of defense ministers on Tuesday" in a virtual format to assure secure and free navigation in the Red Sea. He emphasized that the Houthi fighters, targeting merchant ships since the beginning of Israel's war with Hamas, represent an international problem, not just for the United States.

Can Prosperity Guardian halt Houthi? USA spearheads the coalition

Attacks from the Iran-backed Houthi on ships are now more frequent. On Monday morning, the insurgents shelled the Norwegian tanker Swan Atlantic with a missile. The container ship MSC Clara was also under attack.

The movement soon issued a statement claiming, "The armed forces of Yemen executed a military operation against two ships associated with the Zionist entity". On Monday evening, the British Maritime Trade Operations Agency (UKMTO) alerted shipping to "unmanned air systems" observed near the Gulf of Aden, urging nearby vessels to be cautious.

In recent days, traffic in the Red Sea has started to diminish. French container ship company CMA CGM revealed that it has rerouted some of its ships around the Cape of Good Hope. The remaining freighters have been directed to reach safe locations and suspend sailings until further notice.

Further, oil firm BP announced that it's suspending all oil shipments through the Red Sea due to the Houthi rebels' attacks on ships, quickly followed by Euronav, one of the world's largest tanker operators, also suspending services.

Numerous freight companies had even earlier halted the transport of goods through these routes. This includes the world's two largest freight companies - MSC and Maersk. Taiwanese company Evergreen announced on Monday that it's temporarily discontinuing acceptance of Israeli cargo and has instructed its crews to suspend sailing through the Red Sea until further notice.

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