The United Kingdom has deployed Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond to the Red Sea as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian.
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The operation has been deployed to protect freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, upholding international trade and countering illicit activities in international waters.
The recent calamities in the Red Sea were sparked following Houthi attacks on international shipping, with reports indicating that ships were targeted with ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial systems.
Already, large operators have ceased operations in the region.
HMS Diamond will sail alongside three US destroyers, with a French warship also currently located in the region.
The destroyer, which the UK Ministry of Defence describes as the Royal Navy’s “most advanced” warship, has already shot down a suspected attack drone.
The UK Ministry of Defence detailed the magnitude of shipping that passes through the shipping lanes, including 50 large merchant ships sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden daily.
“These illegal attacks are an unacceptable threat to the global economy, undermining regional security and are threatening to drive up fuel prices,” UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.
“This is an international problem that requires an international solution. That is why HMS Diamond has joined Operation Prosperity Guardian. This new task force will protect shipping and vital trade routes in the Red Sea, where large amounts of goods and oil transit through to Europe and on to the UK.
“Our Royal Navy personnel are protecting British interests in an increasingly contested part of the world. Their valuable contribution to upholding peace and security should not be underestimated, and we thank them for their service, especially during this festive period.”
It was confirmed earlier in the week that the United Kingdom and Norway had partnered to announce the formation of a new Maritime Capability Coalition to deliver long-term support to Ukraine, including training, equipment and infrastructure to enhance security in the Black Sea.
The UK and Norwegian governments have announced the formation of the Maritime Capability Coalition to bolster Ukraine’s maritime defence in the Black Sea.
With the launch of the coalition, Secretary Shapps confirmed that Ukraine would procure two Sandown Class mine countermeasure vessels through UK Export Finance.
The announcements are expected to alleviate pressures on the Ukrainian economy, which has been hampered by Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea.
It is hoped that the acquisition will enable the Ukrainian Navy to support the restoration of Ukrainian exports.
Speaking on the announcement, Secretary Shapps explained that the new deal will support the strengthening of Ukrainian naval capability.
“These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine, which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes, which have been severely limited since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion,” Secretary Shapps explained.
“This capability boost marks the beginning of a new dedicated effort by the UK, Norway and our allies to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime capabilities over the long term, enhancing their ability to operate in defending their sovereign waters and bolstering security in the Black Sea.”