01/10/2024, 11.30
Send to a friend

Singapore in the international anti-Houthi coalition in the Red Sea

by Angeline Tan

The city-state is an active participant in the ""Operation Prosperity Guardian"" wanted by Washington to counter the actions of pro-Iranian rebels. Targeted are attacks against global maritime trade in one of the key hubs for the Far East. In recent days attacked by militiamen at least 20 merchant ships with the use of missiles.

Singapore (AsiaNews) - Singapore is joining the international coalition active in "Operation Prosperity Guardian", a military initiative involving several countries and formed on 19 December 2023 by the United States to respond to attacks by Houthi rebels from Yemen on ships transiting the Red Sea.

This is what Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen announced yesterday in a speech to Parliament, confirming the deployment of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel within the maritime alliance created to defend global trade in an area from strategic importance.

A team from the Navy's Information Fusion Center is expected to be sent in the next few days, which will have to contribute to sharing information. Added to this is a team of planners to contribute at an operational level, as well as the presence of a senior officer in the headquarters in Bahrain of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), made up of 39 nations.

Minister Ng's statements came in response to a question raised by MP Desmond Choo on Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and how they could impact Singapore's maritime security, as well as clarification on SAF's rumored involvement in the operations.

“It is in our interest - underlined the senior government official - that Singapore joins the international community, to protect and ensure that the main maritime communication lines around the world remain open; especially if threatened by illicit acts by non-state actors or terrorist groups."

Furthermore, the minister noted that pro-Iranian forces active in Yemen over the past three days have attacked at least 20 merchant ships in the Red Sea with the use of missiles and tried to divert their route.

The Houthis also attacked the Maersk Hangzhou, a Singapore-flagged container ship owned by Denmark. For their part, the rebels said their attacks were their way of showing support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in its war against Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Following the Houthi attacks, all five major shipping companies in the world have suspended transits through the Red Sea, which is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia, Ng Eng Hen added.

The minister then clarified that the immediate impact of the ongoing attacks on Singapore should be limited, as most of the country's critical supplies such as food and pharmaceuticals are delivered by air or do not pass through the area affected by the attacks.

Local producers probably also have large warehouse stocks to be able to protect themselves against possible supply interruptions, but the minister underlined that the significant increase in costs is of great concern among entrepreneurs.

He then explained in detail the operation which Singapore joined in the seas, launched by the United States on 19 December and in line with the three principles of cooperation for maritime security that Singapore expressed at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2005. An agreement aimed at countering, at the time, the phenomenon of robberies and maritime piracy that threatened the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Minister Ng said the military operation would focus on keeping a key maritime communications line clear, stressing that Singapore would be the first to ask for international help in the event of such attacks in regional waters.

Regarding Gaza, he said Singapore and SAF continued to keep an eye on regional developments and the ongoing need for humanitarian assistance. The local Armed Forces have accepted the invitation of their French counterparts to provide two members of the medical staff, who will serve on the French ship Dixmude.

Docked at the port of El Arish, Egypt, the Dixmude is a reconfigured hospital ship, which has treated and continues to treat Gaza victims.

Returning to the Houthi issue, in a joint statement published by the White House press room on January 3, Singapore, together with 13 other countries, urged the rebel militias to put an end to the attacks, defined as "illegal, unacceptable and deeply destabilizing".

Nearly 15% of global maritime trade passes through the Red Sea, which serves as the entry point to the Suez Canal. In addition to Singapore, the declaration was signed by the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and Great Britain.

The note arrived shortly after the members of the United Nations Security Council asked to stop the Houthi attacks during the first formal meeting of the year, which was also held on January 3.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
White House to stop Beijing's "imperialist" policy in the South China Sea
24/01/2017 15:55
More migrants drown off Yemen’s coast
11/08/2017 20:05
Ramos-Horta loses E Timor presidential election, Guterres and Ruak in runoff
The Middle East looks at Bush's victory


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”