The US established a new Combined Task Force 153 within the Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East to focus on the Red Sea.
he new task force reflects growing international interest in the Red Sea area, and aims to “enhance security and stability” in the region, according to US Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who included combating human trafficking and narcotics and weapons smuggling as part of the mission.
While officials have not been explicit about the task force playing a role in countering threats from Houthi forces in Yemen, Houthi maritime attacks are a risk that the task force will seek to deter.
Part of CTF 153’s mission will be addressing human trafficking and drug and weapons smuggling. The task force might also respond to humanitarian or environmental emergencies.
According to IMB’s latest piracy report, although no incidents were reported there since the start of the year, the threat of piracy still exists in the waters off the southern Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden, which include the Yemeni and Somali coasts.
Although the opportunity for incidents has reduced, the Somali pirates continue to possess the capability and capacity to carry out incidents, and all merchant ships are advised to adhere to the recommendations in the latest Best Management Practices, while transiting in these waters