There’s been an 80% drop in shipping activity at the port city Eilat in Israel since the Houthis started seizing and attacking Israeli-linked ships. Insurance prices have risen 300%.
The United States has announced the formation of a ten-nation force codenamed ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’ aimed at ending attacks on Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi group.
Only one Arab country, Bahrain, is part of the coalition. Saudi Arabia and the UAE reportedly rejected the US proposal to join.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin disclosed on Monday that nations including Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Seychelles, and the United Kingdom have pledged their support for this vital “multinational security initiative”.
“The US navy defending capitalism and Israeli genocide in the Red Sea rather than universal human rights. It won’t end well for the world policeman this time,” said one user on X.
The Houthis have escalated their drone and missile attacks on vessels traversing key shipping lanes, particularly targeting ships with perceived links to Israel or Israeli interests, since the onset of the conflict in Gaza.
The Houthis claimed responsibility for attacks on the Norwegian-owned Swan Atlantic and the MSC Clara using naval drones. Norway’s Inventor Chemical Tankers, owners of the Swan Atlantic, asserted that their vessel has no connection to Israel, being managed by a Singaporean company.
No casualties were reported from these incidents.
Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a prominent Houthi official and spokesperson, conveyed to Al Jazeera the group’s readiness to confront any US-led coalition operating in the Red Sea.
The security situation in the Red Sea has already prompted at least 12 shipping firms, including industry heavyweights like Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM, and AP Moller-Maersk, to suspend their routes through the region.
UK oil titan BP also announced a temporary cessation of its Red Sea operations, citing escalating security concerns.
The Houthi blockade on Israeli shipping has significantly disrupted global trade, compelling freight companies to alter their routes around Africa.
This detour is resulting in heightened costs and delays in the delivery of essential commodities such as energy, food, and consumer goods.
The Red Sea, a vital maritime artery linking to the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal, facilitates approximately 12 percent of global trade, including a substantial 30 percent of container traffic.