July 10

Houthi Attacks in Red Sea Sharply Increase



Recent Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have sharply increased, disrupting shipping routes and impacting oil markets, Rystad Energy Global Market Analysis Director Claudio Galimberti said in a market update sent to Rigzone by the Rystad team on Tuesday.

“This escalation since late May has heightened maritime security concerns, prompting vessel rerouting and higher shipping costs,” Galimberti added in the update.

“With no signs of attacks ceasing amid ongoing geopolitical tensions, the potential for a prolonged closure of the Bab el Mandeb Strait looms. This would influence global oil trade and shipping economics, with broader implications for regional stability and geopolitical strategies,” he continued.

In the update, Galimberti said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized negotiators to discuss a hostage release deal with Hamas following positive responses from Hamas to U.S. ceasefire proposals.

“While the U.S. welcomed the progress, the finalizing of a deal still may take time,” Galimberti warned.

“Hezbollah and Israeli forces have been trading near-daily fire since the eruption of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on 7 October 2023, but have thus far avoided a full-blown war,” he added.

“The risks for the oil markets lie in any deeper involvement of Iran in a direct war with Israel, as Iran currently produces four million barrels per day of crude and condensate, of which about 1.8 million barrels per day are exported,” Galimberti continued.

In its maritime security threat advisory (MSTA) published on July 1, Dryad Global noted that, on June 30, UKMTO received a report of an incident 13nm southwest of Al Mukha, Yemen.

“The master of the Marshall Island flagged cargo ship Summer Lady reported being approached by 12 small craft, including fast boats and smaller kayak style boats, some of which were uncrewed surface vessels (USVs),” Dryad said in the MSTA.

“The small crafts made their closest approach to the merchant vessel at 1.5nm and remained near it for about an hour before departing. In response, the ship changed course and docked in the next port,” it added.

“USVs typically carry a larger warhead that detonates at or near the waterline. They can target vulnerable areas on a ship, such as the engine compartment, where they can have the greatest impact. Modern merchant ships are difficult to sink, but once immobilized, they can be targeted with other weapons,” it continued.

“The Houthis use motherships to tow USVs, pick up pilots, and provide command and control during attacks. Despite being less advanced, their craft does not rely on satellite communications. USVs are less expensive and easier to manufacture than manned boats and can be used to launch attacks without endangering the lives of Houthi fighters,” the MSTA went on to state.

Dryad also noted in the MSTA that, on June 29, the Antigua & Barbuda flagged container ship Rotterdam Trader “was threatened via VHF while transiting the Gulf of Aden”.

“The Rotterdam Trader was operating with active AIS when it received a VHF transmission from ‘Yemeni Authorities’ requesting the vessel’s information via email or risk becoming their next target. After complying, the vessel left that area,” Dryad said in the MSTA.

“This is the first reported case of a vessel complying with a Yemeni authorities’ information request, specifically via email. Previous VHF harassment had consisted of demanding that the vessel change course and surrender to a Yemeni port,” it added.

“The UKMTO advised not to comply and to increase speed. This new tactic involves Houthis confirming vessel details prior to attacks, potentially avoiding hitting vessels transporting goods to friendly nations. In recent weeks, multiple Houthi strikes have targeted vessels carrying supplies for Houthi allies, most notably Iran,” it went on to state.

In a statement posted on its X page on July 8, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) stated that, in the past 24 hours, its forces “successfully destroyed two Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen”.

“Additionally, partner forces successfully destroyed two Houthi UAVs over the Gulf of Aden. There were no injuries or damage reported by U.S., coalition, or merchant vessels. It was determined these systems presented an imminent threat to U.S., coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region,” it added.

“These actions were taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S., coalition, and merchant vessels,” it continued.

In a separate X post on July 4, Centcom said that, in the past 24 hours, its forces “successfully destroyed two Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed surface vessels in the Red Sea and one Houthi radar site in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen”.

In another X post on July 3, Centcom said that, in the past 24 hours, its forces “successfully destroyed two Iranian-backed Houthi radar sites in Houthi controlled areas of Yemen and two uncrewed surface vessels in the Red Sea”.

Source: Rigzone.com

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