ICS welcomes Operation Prosperity Guardian

News Story
- 21 Dec 2023 ( #1159 ) - London, United Kingdom
1 min read
Houthi rebels in Yemen have been firing missiles at container ships
Houthi rebels in Yemen have been firing missiles at container ships

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational security initiative announced by the United States this week to protect container ships in the Red Sea.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the operation to deter Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen firing missiles at container ships in the Red Sea.

The US, United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain will join the operation, Austin says in a statement.

Austin says the joint action is aimed at deterring “this non-state actor launching ballistic missiles and uncrewed aerial vehicles”.

ICS says attacks against merchant ships in the region have been escalating since the Bahamas flagged Galaxy Leader, operated by Japan's NYK and owned by British company Ray Car Carriers, was seized by Houthi forces on 19 November.

“ICS deplores these attacks, which are unacceptable acts of aggression and threaten the lives of innocent seafarers and the safety of merchant shipping,” the ICS says.

Earlier this month the ICS said some shipping companies had already rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid Houthi aggression, a move which increases costs as well as delaying global trade.

The Red Sea is a crucial waterway, linking Europe and Asia. Currently 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea.

Logistics UK’s head of trade Nichola Mallon says rerouting to avoid the Red Sea will add about 10 days of transit time to ships heading to North Europe and Mediterranean ports.

“This serious situation predominantly affects ships serving the Asia to North Europe and Mediterranean routes, however there could be knock-on effects in other regions if the situation escalates or lasts for a prolonged period, Mallon says. 

“This interruption to global shipping also comes at a time when there are already significant challenges to movement through the Panama Canal because of drought.”

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