Posted on September 17, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued an alert, warning that a “maritime threat” has been reported in the Red Sea off of Yemen.
The alert did not exactly specify the nature of the threat, but it does come at a time when tensions in both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden are relatively high.
“A maritime threat has been reported in the Red Sea in the vicinity of Yemen. The nature of the event is potential increased hostilities that threaten maritime security.
“Vessels operating in this area are advised to review U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-007 (Violence Due to Regional Conflict and Piracy – the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Indian Ocean). Vessels are advised to exercise caution when transiting this area,” reads the statement by MARAD.
Despite the current cease-fire between the Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led Government coalition, the US believes that the conflict in Yemen continues to be a risk for the maritime industry.
Most recently, the Houthis have refused to comply with the order issued by the legitimate Yemeni government, asking for the collection of customs fees from all oil derivative sales at Hodeidah port.
As a result, over ten vessels have had to stop their transit through the Red Sea, as the oil tankers had not paid the associated custom fees.
As such, the tankers have not had the opportunity to disclose the certificate of origin of the shipment they have been carrying, and thus are unable to prove its legality.
According to some reports, over the recent months, at least 40 vessels had to stop in the Red Sea due to the current Houthi practices. Some experts believe that this is a deliberate action on behalf of the rebels, meant to effectively lower the security status of the region.