Royal Navy Deployed To Protect Red Sea Shipping

Houthi Rebels Launch Biggest Attack to Date

HMS Diamond. Credit: GrantShapps/X

DUE to the conflict in the Middle East, merchant shipping has been under increasing attacks, threatening global trade and stability.

Recent Houthi attacks on commercial vessels have prompted a significant international response. The Royal Navy‘s HMS Diamond has recently joined Operation Prosperity Guardian, a new task force aimed at safeguarding navigation freedom in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The multinational operation includes three US destroyers and a French warship, all currently patrolling the Southern Red Sea.

Operation Prosperity Guardian focuses on shielding navigation freedom, international commerce, and human lives from the threats posed by illicit non-state actors in international waters. Nations such as Bahrain, Norway, and the Seychelles are also contributing to this initiative.

Escalating Maritime Threats

The security situation in the Red Sea has been worsening. Houthi forces have intensified their use of ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial systems against global shipping, significantly increasing the threat.

Recently, major shipping companies like Maersk and BP have suspended travel through this region, citing security risks. This decision has led to rising costs and extended transit times for global trade.

Global Response To Rising Tensions

In response to these developments, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps joined a virtual meeting this morning with his American counterpart and approximately 20 other Defence Ministers globally.

They discussed the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian and acknowledged the severe economic implications of the situation. The Ministers collectively agreed to collaborate on an international solution to this problem.

Shapps emphasized the gravity of the situation, saying, ‘These illegal attacks are an unacceptable threat to the global economy, undermining regional security and are threatening to drive up fuel prices.

‘This is an international problem that requires an international solution. That is why HMS Diamond has joined Operation Prosperity Guardian. This new task force will protect shipping and vital trade routes in the Red Sea, where large amounts of goods and oil transit through to Europe and on to the UK.

‘Our Royal Navy personnel are protecting British interests in an increasingly contested part of the world. Their valuable contribution to upholding peace and security should not be underestimated and we thank them for their service, especially during this festive period.’

Strategic Importance And UK Involvement

On Saturday morning HMS Diamond shot down a suspected attack drone which was targeting merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

HMS Diamond’s deployment to the Red Sea follows growing concerns over maritime security at critical sea trade routes, known as chokepoints.

The ship is part of the UK’s commitment to supporting security in the region and the global maritime commons. The Gulf’s waters are crucial for merchant shipping, especially for tankers carrying the UK’s liquefied natural gas supply.

Each day, about 50 large merchant ships navigate through the Bab-el-Mandeb, linking the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, while approximately 115 major merchant ships traverse the Strait of Hormuz.

Alongside HMS Diamond, HMS Lancaster, three mine hunting vessels (HMS Bangor, HMS Chiddingfold, and HMS Middleton), and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship (RFA Cardigan Bay) are also deployed as part of the operation, helping to maintain open trade routes in the Middle East.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.