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Politics

Greece OK’s Joining EU Naval Mission to Protect Red Sea Vessels

February 26, 2024

ATHENS – Greece’s National Security Intergovernmental Council (KYSEA) gave the ok for the country to take part in a  European Union naval mission in the Red Sea to protect merchant ships from attacks by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

The United States and United Kingdom have warships there as well and have launched attacks on Houthi sites and protected merchant ships but some companies are avoiding the sea and taking longer routes.

The Houthis said they are targeting ships aligned with support for Israel and the invasion of the Gaza Strip in a hunt for Hamas terrorists who killed more than 1200 Israelis in October, 2023 raids.
The government said it was important to join the mission as the Houthi attacks have disrupted Greek-owned commercial vessels’ activities at the country’s biggest port Piraeus and some container ships have stopped using it.
A Greek frigate will depart for the Red Sea in the coming days, a government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. France, Italy and Germany are also taking part in the EU mission, under the code name Aspides, the Greek word for shields.

Participating countries will be mandated to protect commercial ships and intercept attacks, but not take part in strikes against the Houthis on land as the UK and UK are doing.

Several Greek-owned merchant ships have been hit off Yemen since November, suffering damages but no casualties but major carriers said they are incurring bigger costs and longer transportation times in avoiding the Red Sea.

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