As had been somewhat heavily trailed over the weekend by Washington sources (see yesterday’s IMN) the US on Monday announced the creation of a 10-country multinational operation which will aim to protect commercial shipping travelling in the Red Sea.
Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that a multinational security initiative, called Operation Prosperity Guardian, would work under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.
Austin, who was in Israel on Monday, said that, the participating countries would be the US, the UK , Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.
Austin said that the operation had the goal of “ensuring freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity”.
The official launching of the multi-national operation came after an escalation in Yemen’s Houthi attacks on merchant ships. That led several shipping lines, and BP, to announce that they would either be diverting from or pausing travel to the Red Sea. With the Suez Canal accommodating 12% of global trade, there were concerns for the safety of global trade. BP’s announcement saw the price of crude oil tick up by 2%.
Secretary Austin said in his statement that “countries that seek to uphold the foundational principle of freedom of navigation must come together to tackle the challenge posed by this non-state actor launching ballistic missiles and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) at merchant vessels from many nations lawfully transiting international waters.”