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HMS Diamond. Photo courtesy UK Royal Navy.

HMS Diamond. Photo courtesy UK Royal Navy

Royal Navy Destroyer To Join Red Sea Coalition As UK Warns Of Deteriorating Security Situation

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December 19, 2023

By Sarah Young

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Britain warned that the security situation in the Red Sea was deteriorating and ballistic missile and drone attacks were an increased threat, as it agreed for a Royal Navy Destroyer to join a U.S.-led operation to safeguard commerce in the region. 

The United States said earlier on Tuesday it was setting up a task force of ships to protect shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, key trading routes, to protect shipping from the rising number of attacks launched by Houthis in Yemen. 

The Houthis have stepped up attacks in response to Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, forcing oil major BP and freight firms including Maersk to avoid the area

Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday that HMS Diamond, which shot down a suspected drone in the Red Sea on Saturday, would join the U.S.-led international taskforce. 

“These illegal attacks are an unacceptable threat to the global economy, undermining regional security and are threatening to drive up fuel prices,” Britain’s defence minister Grant Shapps said in the statement. 

“This is an international problem that requires an international solution.”

Britain said that alongside HMS Diamond the task force currently includes three U.S. destroyers, and a French warship is in the region. They are operating in the Southern Red Sea, focusing on protecting freedom of navigation, international trade and human life by countering illicit non-state actors in international waters.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the taskforce would have considerable capacity to deter future attacks and protect commercial shipping.

He added that the government was watching for signs of inflation feeding into the economy caused by the disruption to maritime trade, with some commercial shipping vessels re-routing to longer journeys to avoid potential attacks.

But he said there were no plans to send any more British navy ships to the region, though this will be kept under review, the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, writing by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton anjd Andrew Heavens)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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