The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomes the announcement from the US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin of the initiation of Operation Prosperity Guardian, to address the security challenges in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and expresses gratitude for action being taken to safeguard the lives of our seafarers and ships.
Following the seizure of the Galaxy Leader vessel, on the 19 November by Houthi forces, there has been an increasing number of attacks against merchant ships. ICS deplores these attacks, which are unacceptable acts of aggression and threaten the lives of innocent seafarers and the safety of merchant shipping.
The launch of multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian is significant to the shipping industry as the operation will provide a coordinated suppressive response to the threat presented by Houthi actions in the Southern Red Sea.
The full details of this operation will be shared over the coming days but we expect the taskforce to have a significant impact on the Houthi’s ability to target and attack merchant shipping. Previously we saw assets in the region operating independently against the threat, whereas now we have a coordinated effort across a large number of military warships that will provide a significant suppressive response.
ICS welcomes the broad coalition of member states of the Operation Prosperity Guardian and urges other nations with military assets in the region to follow this lead.
We call on member states to use their diplomatic influence and bring pressure to bear on the Houthis to de-escalate the increasingly volatile situation in the region.