EU Launches Naval Mission to Protect Red Sea Shipping

  • 21 Feb 2024

On 19th February, 2024, the European Union initiated Naval Force Operation Aspides to safeguard cargo ships from attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Key Points

  • European Warships Deployment: European warships and airborne early warning systems will be sent to the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and surrounding waters as part of the mission.
  • Contribution of Member States: France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium plan to contribute ships to the mission, confirming their commitment to common European defense.
  • Rules of Engagement: Aspides vessels are authorized to fire on the Houthis only in self-defense and are not permitted to shoot preemptively, ensuring a defensive stance.
  • Background on Houthi Attacks: Since November, Houthi rebels have targeted commercial and military shipping in the Red Sea, disrupting global trade routes.
  • Impact on Shipping: The attacks have led to increased delivery times and costs for shipments between Asia and the EU, impacting global trade.
  • Recent Incidents: Recent incidents include an attack on the Rubymar cargo ship and the downing of a US drone by the Houthis in Yemen.