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Houthi Attacks on Ships in Middle East Increase

Houthi terrorist attacks on commercial ships off the coast of Yemen are continuing despite a U.S.-led campaign to stop them (Bloomberg, subscription).

What’s going on: “The Houthis struck the commodities carrier Transworld Navigator in a suspected drone attack early Sunday, marking the fourth time the vessel has been targeted, according to US Central Command.”

  • Earlier this month, the group struck the Greek-owned coal carrier the Tutor in the Red Sea, killing one person in what was apparently the first Houthi attack from an airborne drone.
  • In another recent incident, Houthi missile attacks started fires aboard the cargo carrier Verbena, forcing the crew to abandon ship.

Why it’s important: “The recent barrage, following a lull, raises questions about whether the coalition is able to prevent the attacks in waters that in normal times are a major trade route for oil, liquefied natural gas and other commodities.”

  • Ship traffic in the region has declined approximately 70% since December as a result of the attacks, with more ships opting for the longer, costlier route around Africa.

What’s being done: “The head of the European Union’s naval force in the region last week said it needs to double in size to effectively combat the Houthis.”

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