Houthis Offer Safe Passage To Ships Through Red Sea If They Obtain Permit

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 06, 2024 - 03:40 AM

The Houthis are currently threatening to unleash more 'painful' attacks on Red Sea shipping. "Yemeni naval forces are closely monitoring all movements in the Red and Arabian Seas and our appropriate responses will make anybody found to be involved in such operations regret their allegiance to America and Britain," a Houthi military spokesman said Tuesday.

Nadwa Al-Dawsari, an analyst with the Middle East Institute in Washington, has described that the US/UK-led Operation Prosperity Guardian has essentially failed. "The Houthis feel confident. They were never held accountable for any of their violations, including attacks on the Red Sea."

The Rubymar has sunk, EPA-EFE

And now the Iran-linked Houthis are so confident that they have announced a new system for entry into the Red Sea which they are unilaterally imposing.

"Ships will have to obtain a permit from Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Maritime Affairs Authority before entering Yemeni waters," according to a Monday statement of Houthi Telecommunications Minister, Misfer Al-Numair.

"(We) are ready to assist requests for permits and identify ships with the Yemeni Navy, and we confirm this is out of concern for their safety," the minister said further, in an official statement carried by the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV.

According to details of the permit plan via Middle East Monitor:

The territorial waters affected by the Yemeni order extend halfway out into the 20-km (12-mile) wide Bab Al-Mandab Strait, the narrow mouth of the Red Sea through which around 15 per cent of the world’s shipping traffic passes on its way to or from the Suez Canal.

In normal times, more than a quarter of global container cargo – including apparel, appliances, auto parts, chemicals and agricultural products, like coffee – move via the Suez Canal.

Previously the Houthis have said that Russia and China owned vessels would receive safe passage, but foreign tankers headed to Israeli ports risk coming under attack.

Washington officials have already expressed doubt over the new offer of permits, saying that even permitted ships could likely face missile or drone attack. 

Former US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates told a shipping industry conference that even if the Gaza war were to stop, "They [Houthis] may decide that they like the idea of controlling the amount of shipping going through the Red Sea, and will continue this for an indefinite period of time."

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, US Central Command posted on social media platform X that MSC Sky II, a container ship operated by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., was damaged in a missile attack about 90 miles southeast of the Yemeni city of Aden, as part of the latest Houthi aggression.