Attacks by Yemeni Houthis on shipping routes in the Red Sea affected the interests of 65 countries, fuel costs for tankers and bulk carriers are increasing due to changes in routes, according to a report by the US Department of Defense.

"Changing the route of ships around Africa through the Cape of Good Hope increases the length of the route by about 11 thousand nautical miles, travel time by 1-2 weeks, and fuel costs by $ 1 million per flight," the study says.

There has been a sharp decline in container traffic in the Red Sea, the volume of which has fallen by about 90% since December 2023. About 10-15% of global maritime trade usually passes through this corridor, which highlights the severity of disruptions.

The Houthis, despite claims that they strike Israeli-linked vessels in retaliation for Israel's actions in Gaza, often attack civilian vessels that are virtually unrelated to Israel. According to the report, the attacks in the Red Sea affected a wide range of countries, including the United States, Britain, Turkey, Russia, China, Qatar and, in particular, Iran, the alleged main supporter of the Houthis.

OREANDA-NEWS  The interests of 29 large energy and shipping companies were also violated, including BP plc, Total Energies, Shell, C.H. Robinson (Minnesota), CMA CGM (Marseille, France), COSCO (Beijing), Equinor, Evergreen (Taipei, Taiwan), Frontline (Limassol, Cyprus).

The report highlights the broader geopolitical implications, and notes that even Iran is not immune from these attacks. In February, an incident occurred when a Houthi missile struck a Greek-owned ship bound for Iran from Brazil, which underscores the indiscriminate nature of the threat, the researchers explain.

The ongoing Houthi aggression in the Red Sea testifies to the group's ability to destabilize the most important world trade routes and that it is still difficult for international coalitions to ensure maritime security, they continue. To effectively counter these threats, it will probably be necessary to intensify the naval operations of the United States, Europe and allies, they say.

Palestinian armed groups led by Hamas invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip in early October 2023. In response, the Israeli Government announced the launch of a retaliatory military operation "Iron Swords" in the Gaza Strip.

In response to the growing threat in the region, the United States initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian in December 2023, a multinational initiative aimed at protecting commercial vessels from air and sea threats. This operation includes active defense measures such as intercepting missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. At the same time, the United States and Britain launched direct attacks on the Houthi infrastructure in Yemen. The European Union has also launched defensive Operation Aspides to counter the maritime threats posed by the Houthis.