Britain has deployed its most advanced warship off the coast of Yemen as fears for commercial shipping in the region grow.
According to multiple media reports, HMS Daring has been diverted from a planned mission in the Arabian Gulf to patrol the Bab al-Mandeb strait at the foot of the Red Sea.
The Type 45 destroyer is there to protect commercial shipping in the crucial shipping lane from the threat of Iranian-backed Houthi missile attacks, The Times reported. Much of Britain’s oil and gas supply passes the straight which connects the Mediterranean, via the Suez Canal, to the Indian Ocean, via the Gulf of Aden.
That came after three US warships and an UAE vessel had been targeted by missiles, reportedly fired from rebel held areas in Yemen. The 1 October attack on the UAE vessel, reportedly transporting aid, wounded Yemenis and passengers near Yemen’s Red Sea Port of Mokha, severely damaged the high-speed catamaran.
Since then the Teekay LNG carrier Galicia Spirit is said to have had a close call in what is believed to be a failed suicide bomb plot. Both Teekay and independent security firms say the skiff that approached the carrier earlier this month, firing small arms, contained a “substantial amount of explosives”.
The deployment of the HMS Daring has been kept under wraps as the UK government are cognisant of having a British warship linked to the bloody civil war in Yemen – a proxy conflict tagged to Iranian-backed Houthi’s and a Saudi-led coalition trying to restore Yemen’s ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power, The Times noted.
Around 8% of world trade is said to transit the Suez Canal annually, including between three and four million barrels of crude daily.
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