Posted on July 31, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
A team of British Special Forces have been deployed to the Red Sea to protect UK oil shipments after Houthi rebels attack another tanker.
20 of the nation's elite troops from the Special Boat Service were sent to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait as tensions increase in the region and missile attacks have become more frequent.
Type 23 Frigate, HMS Argyll will also join the efforts as part of the multinational taskforce.
Coalition Task Force 150 has been created to disrupt attacks in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean that are threatening commercial shipping.
The military forces arrived in Djibouti, Africa, to support the US Special Operations Task Force with anti-terror operations on the waters.
Fears are growing that the UK's fuel imports could be impacted if the strait is blocked by a damaged ship.
The coalition team will launch drones from Camp Lemonnier base in Djibouti if there is an attack on a vessel. They are also equipped to use Osprey V22 tilt-rotor helicopters.
Last week, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended oil shipments through the Strait. The Saudi-led Coalition said Houthi rebels had attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea, causing 'minor damage' to the vessel.
'The oil tanker sustained minor damage and the (Houthi) militias almost caused an environmental catastrophe', the coalition said.
The political situation in Yemen has become increasingly hostile. ARX has reported several incidents in the region over the last couple of months.
Tensions in Yemen:
05th April 2018- EU NAVFOR Warns Against Transits Through Red Sea
17th April 2018- Military Cargo Smuggled in to Yemen in Aid Shipments
23rd April 2018- Houthis Rebels Hold 19 Oil Vessels
14th May 2018- Turkish Bulker Hit by Missile
13th June 2018- Major Port Attacked in Biggest Assault of Yemen War
14th June 2018- Yemeni Navy Launch Counter Attack on Saudi-led Coalition
14th June 2018- Saudi Arabia and UAE Join to Protect Yemen's Hodeidah Port
04th July 2018- Merchant Vessel Attacked by rebels off Yemen
26th July 2018- Saudi Companies Stopped Bab-El-Mandeb Transits
The region has become progressively more hostile as tensions worsen between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition. The rebel movement has taken control of the Saada province and neighbouring areas, as well as the region’s key port city of Hodeidah.
The war has seen years of fighting and three failed UN-organised efforts to negotiate a peace deal. Since March 2015 more than 9,245 people have been killed and 52,800 have been injured. About 75% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 11.3million people who are in acute need of immediate assistance to survive.
Military in the Region
Britain imports 90 per cent of its oil from the Middle East and regularly has warships patrolling in the region as part of a Nato initiative to protect and escort commercial vessels transiting to Suez.
In June, Cunard spokesperson Jackie Chase said that armed military personnel had joined the company's Queen Mary 2, which was carrying 2,600 passengers, and remained onboard until the ship reached Aqaba in Jordan.
The ship transited the vulnerable waterways at 26 knots but some cruise liners are now avoiding the region, as they do not have the power to outrun both Houthi attacks and Somali pirates.