Greece to guide the European operation Aspides within the Pink Sea

Even with repeated strikes by UK and US forces in opposition to the Houthi rebels’ navy in Yemen, who’re believed to be linked to Iran, the frequency of assaults on vessels navigating the Pink Sea or the Gulf of Aden has not decreased. 

Photograph credit score: Turkish MoD

Let’s look at a explicit incident from February 12. The Star Iris, a bulk service that operates underneath the Marshall Islands flag and is managed by Star Bulk, a Greek firm, skilled an assault within the Bab el Mandeb Strait. The Houthi attackers rationalized their actions by indicating that Star Iris, whose proprietor is listed on the Nasdaq, works within the curiosity of the US. Initially, this ship departed from Brazil, certain for Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran. 

The Houthis seem like shifting their modus operandi. Though they used to favor anti-ship missiles and remote-controlled weapons, typically generally known as “kamikaze drones”, they appear to be more and more using land-based drones carrying explosives. It’s value noting, although, that no profitable assault utilizing this methodology has been reported to date. 

To uphold safety alongside the Pink Sea, the US launched Operation Prosperity Guardian. This operation depends on the pre-existing Mixed Maritime Forces [CMF] already situated within the area, separate from the assaults focusing on the Houthi’s navy infrastructure. 

The European Union will quickly deploy a naval drive named EUNAVFOR Aspides, as promulgated in January. France and Italy, who assist this initiative, intention to stimulate Franco-Italian dynamics on a European scale and improve the coordination of efforts amongst European international locations and their companions within the area. 

The Official Journal of the European Union, on February 12, partially outlined the phrases for this naval operation. With a modest funds of merely 8 million euros and deliberate to final for a single 12 months, the initiative will likely be led by Greek Rear Admiral Vasileos Gripparis from his headquarters in Larissa, Greece. 

Turkey is leading a regional mine clearance fleet in the Black Sea
Photograph credit score: Shutterstock/FOTOGRIN

EUNAVFOR Aspides has a broad operational attain, encompassing the Strait of Baab al Mandab and Hormuz, and the worldwide waters of the Pink Sea, Gulf of Aden, Oman, and the Persian Gulf. Its major aim is securing the liberty of navigation for ships inside this space, in shut coordination with allied maritime safety suppliers. 

This initiative goals to escort ships in its operation zone, preserve “maritime situational consciousness”, and shield maritime vessels from multi-domain threats “in full respect of worldwide regulation” and based mostly on “necessity and proportionality.” 

EUNAVFOR Aspides is predicted to collaborate flawlessly with EUNAVFOR Atalanta, tasked with bettering maritime safety within the western Indian Ocean and the Pink Sea. It may also work alongside Operation Prosperity Guardian, Mixed Maritime Forces, and “international locations in search of to reinforce maritime safety of their operational areas.” 

Apparently, the proposal doesn’t deal with the Maritime Surveillance Mission within the Strait of Hormuz, Agenor, initiated by France in 2019, with contributions from Italy, Denmark, and Belgium. 

Given the funds allotted to EUNAVFOR Aspides, it’s identified that the German frigate Hessen will be part of its ranks. Greece plans to dispatch the frigate HS Hydra, and Italy has positioned the anti-aircraft frigate Caio Duilio within the area. 

Belgium has pledged its frigate, “Louise-Marie,” to the mission. As for France, no specifics are at the moment out there, regardless of ongoing missions within the Pink Sea and the Gulf of Aden by the FREMM Languedoc and the air protection-enhanced FREMM Alsace.


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