Houthi rebels have announced that they have attacked the Star Iris bulk carrier, which was sailing with the Marshall Islands flag and is owned by a Greek company. A simple check on maritime navigation websites would have indicated that the vessel left Brazil on January 12 and is heading to the port of Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran in the northern Persian Gulf.
The main reason for the Houthis' difficulty in monitoring shipping in the Red Sea is the withdrawal of Iranian spy ship Behshad, which has left the area and is now anchored at a Chinese base in Djibouti. The Behshad is operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and had been helping the Houthis with intelligence gathering activities in the Red Sea.
The Houthis are now under pressure to respond to the attacks by the US-led coalition forces protecting ships in the Red Sea. On Saturday the US attacked two unmanned surface vessels and three cruise missiles to the north of the port of Hodeidah in Yemen.
These US actions have undermined the effectiveness of the Houthis' capabilities to attack, currently without significant success, military targets in the Red Sea area. So far, the Houthis have managed to consistently attack only merchant ships, including the latest ship sailing today for Iran.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 12, 2024.
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