Houthi attacks decline in Red Sea due to international naval cooperation, says Greece

Improved global coordination between naval missions in the Red Sea has minimised the frequency of attacks by Yemen’s Houthis in the past week, Greek Shipping Minister Christos Stylianides shared with Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Greece houses the headquarters of the naval operation in the Red Sea, known as “Aspides”, which translates to “Shields” in Greek.

“We are pleased to report a significant decrease in the number and intensity of attacks over the past week. This is a fact,” Stylianides stated, speaking on the sidelines of the Posidonia shipping week in Athens.

“It is further evidence that the international community can effectively address this issue with determination.”

Aspides was established this year to safeguard vessels from attacks by Houthi militants, who have launched numerous drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea region since November and have extended attacks to other busy waterways.

Houthis claim their attacks are acts of solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

Shipping has not faced such politically driven attacks since World War Two, said Stylianides, a former EU Commissioner, adding that they have had “tangible repercussions, geopolitically, commercially, legally, environmentally.”

The recent reduction, he said, demonstrated that Aspides and the U.S-led Operation Prosperity Guardian complement each other in helping restore freedom of trade in the area.

The Houthis have sunk one ship, the Rubymar, and seized another vessel. Three seafarers were killed in a separate attack.

Greece, which leads the shipping sector in terms of tonnage, has also been affected, he said, adding that that was also a reason behind the country’s decision to play a more leading role in the EU initiative.

The Houthis have launched attacks against at least two Greek-operated ships in recent weeks.

“We are resolute in our commitment to be at the forefront,” he said. “As a maritime leader, we must assume our responsibilities and obligations”.