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May be first ship to sink in attack! EU launches Red Sea escorts

Ting https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/2LuO-ps75z2n_0Q5lsTkOQ 2024-02-21 10:51:24

As a result of the renewed escalation of the situation in the Red Sea, the British cargo ship was damaged in another attack by the Houthis, causing the crew to abandon ship.

Yemen local time on the morning of the 19th, Yemeni Houthi armed military spokesman Yahya Sari'a issued a statement that the Houthis by missile attack on the British "Ruby" cargo ship (Rubymar), and said the ship is seriously damaged, facing the risk of sinking in the Gulf of Aden.

"Military authorities reported that the crew had abandoned the ship," the British Maritime Trade Organization said. "The vessel is at anchor and all crew are safe." The ship may become the first to sink after being attacked by the Houthis.

According to the British company Embry Security Risk Management, the attack in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait was on a "Belizean-flagged, UK-registered, Lebanese-operated cargo ship", which was sailing from the UAE to Bulgaria at the time of the incident.

So far, in less than a week's time, there have been three merchant ships were attacked one after another.

Earlier, according to the British local media on the 18th, a Panama-flagged, India-bound crude oil tanker in the Red Sea was hit by a missile.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the missile was fired from the Houthi forces in Yemen and hit the port side of the U.S. crude oil tanker "Pollux".

The UK's Office for Maritime Trade Operations (OMTO) and the UK's maritime security intelligence company, Embry, claimed that a Panamanian-flagged tanker was allegedly struck by a missile 72 nautical miles (1.852 kilometers in 1 nautical mile) northwest of Yemen's port of Muha. "The tanker sustained minor damage and all the people on board the tanker are safe and sound."

According to Reuters, Yemeni Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a statement on the 17th that the organization had fired a missile at the British tanker "North River Tri-Star" (Pollux) in the Red Sea.

According to the report, the attacked tanker was a Panama-flagged British tanker carrying crude oil destined for India. The Houthis claimed to have struck it "accurately and directly" with multiple missiles, but did not release details of the timing of the strike or the extent of damage to the tanker.

As the crisis in the Red Sea continues to escalate, the European Union, following the United States, has also organized the launch of the Red Sea Escort Operation.

The Council of the European Union on the 19th announced the launch of the Red Sea and Gulf escort operation to safeguard its commercial and security interests. The Council said in a press release on the same day that the objective of the escort operation is to "restore and maintain freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf".

The operation, called "Shield", "will ensure the presence of the EU Naval Force in the region" and is committed to maintaining maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation, especially for merchant ships, according to the statement.

The EU said the operation will take place in the main sea lines of communication in the Straits of Bab al-Mandeb and Hormuz, as well as in the international waters of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The operational command will be based in the Greek city of Larissa.

An EU official said that the EU is expected to start the sea escort mission in the coming weeks, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium will each send a warship to participate in the mission under the command of Greece, and the commander of operational control will be an Italian officer.

According to the plan, the operation is tentatively scheduled to last for one year, and the EU fleet will only be used to protect civilian vessels in the Red Sea region, but will not take the initiative to attack Houthi positions in Yemen.

This is different from previous U.S.-led escort operations. The U.S. Red Sea convoy operation focuses on military strikes against the Houthis, which is more likely to clash with them.

The German frigate Hessen set sail for the Mediterranean on February 8, CCTV News reported. Belgium plans to send a frigate to the Mediterranean on March 27th.

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