European Ships Pay Money to Sail Safely in Red Sea Off Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-02-20 12:26 PM



A Western diplomatic source told Sheba Intelligence that European companies began about a month ago paying money to the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group in return for the safe passage of their ships in the Red Sea.


The sources said that the money paid by European ships goes to external bank accounts affiliated with companies owned and managed by the official Houthi spokesperson, Mohammed Abdel Salam.


The source estimated the average amount of money requested by the Houthis on each ship to be about half a million dollars. "There are ships that pay nearly a million dollars or less, and these amounts remain less than the operational cost that the ship needs if it passes through the Cape of Good Hope," the source said.


According to information obtained by Sheba Intelligence, there is a significant decline in the number of ships sailing through the Red Sea, and initial estimates indicate that only 20% continue sailing in the Red Sea.


Before the Red Sea escalations, 60 ships used to cross the Bab al-Mandab Strait in both directions. But now, about 12 ships cross this vital waterway daily, meaning that the Houthis make a daily profit of at least six million dollars, according to the source.


 The Houthi group could receive 180 million dollars per month, which means that their revenues will reach more than two billion dollars annually from ships in the Red Sea if the situation continues as it is now.


However, Houthi officials have repeatedly said all ships are "safe" except for the Israeli vessels or ships linked to the United States and the United Kingdom that have been supporting the Israeli war on Palestinians in Gaza.


The Europeans say they have nothing to do with the American classification of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. Luis Miguel Bueno, EU's regional media officer for the Middle East and North, said in an interview with Al Jazeera, "The European Union does not consider the Ansar Allah movement a terrorist organization, and there is no official or unofficial European decision to do so, and the decision designating the Houthis is only an American decision."


On the contrary, the European Union announced yesterday the launch of the "ASPEDS" naval mission to help protect cargo ships in the Red Sea. "The European Union is responding swiftly to the necessity to restore maritime security and freedom of navigation in a highly strategic maritime corridor," the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement.


The statement added, "Within its defensive mandate, the operation will provide maritime situational awareness, accompany vessels, and protect them against possible multi-domain attacks at sea."


The EU said the mission would operate along the main sea lines of communication in the Baab al-Mandab Strait, the Strait of Hormuz, and international waters in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Gulf.


Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Affairs Minister said, "It was important to me that we launch this mission because it means protecting our own shipping, but above all it makes it clear that we as an international community stand together in the face of attacks, terrorist attacks on the freedom of the sea lanes."