US, Allies in Talks to Protect Red Sea Shipping Lines

Tue Dec 05 2023
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WASHINGTON: The White House on Monday said that the U.S. is in talks with allies to setup a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan described it as a natural response to the recent attacks by Houthis on three vessels in the area.

On Sunday, ballistic missiles launched by Houthis hit three commercial ships, while a U.S. warship shot down three drones in self-defense.

The U.S. military in a statement said an escalation in maritime attacks in the Red Sea linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

US in talks with other states on maritime task force

Sullivan told journalists that US is in talks with other states about a maritime task force in ensuring safe passage.

He said same kind of task forces are used to protect commercial shipping elsewhere, including Somalia.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration 8.8 million barrels of oil is shipped through the Red Sea per day. It said the narrow straits of the Bab al-Mandab within Houthis’ range makes it one of world trade’s crucial chokepoints.

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The ships normally carry oil and natural gas from the Gulf to China, Europe and the United States.

The Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab are also a major route for commercial shipping who carrying millions of tons of agricultural products and other goods.

Sullivan went on to say the U.S. does not think that all three of the ships targeted by the Houthis had ties to Israel.

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