Tuesday April 16, 2024

EU launches naval mission in Red Sea, Gulf regions

Published : 20 Feb 2024, 01:52

  DF News Desk
An Israeli Navy missile boat is seen in the area of the Red Sea on Nov. 1, 2023. File Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via Xinhua.

The European Union (EU) said Monday it launched a naval mission in the Red Sea and the Gulf regions to safeguard its commercial and security interests, reported Xinhua.

The mission, codenamed "ASPIDES", meaning shield in Greek, is of "defensive" nature, aiming to "restore and safeguard freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf," said the Council of the EU in a press release.

The mission "will ensure an EU naval presence in the area" where Houthi attacks have targeted international commercial vessels since October 2023, said the Council. The mission's headquarters will be based in Larissa, Greece.

"Within its defensive mandate, the operation will provide maritime situational awareness, accompany vessels, and protect them against possible multi-domain attacks at sea," it added.

"The operation will be active along the main sea lines of communication in the Baab al-Mandab Strait and the Strait of Hormuz, as well as international waters in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf," it said.

The EU's Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said last week that "as shipping through the Red Sea has been rerouted, delivery time for shipments between Asia and the EU have increased by 10-15 days, and the costs of these shipments have gone up by around 400 percent."