Yemen's Houthis Confirm Talks With E.U., Deny Receiving Money From Ships in Red Sea

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-02-23 03:28 AM UTC


The Ansar Allah (Houthi) group and the European Union held "constructive" talks on the Red Sea security amid continued Houthi attacks on ships and U.S. airstrikes on sites in Yemen.

Hussein Al-Ezzi, a Houthi official in the Houthi foreign ministry, said yesterday the talks are mediated by Norway, affirming that maritime navigation is safe for ships. However, he said Israeli, U.S. and British vessels are banned from sailing in the Red Sea.

Sheba Intelligence revealed on Tuesday that the Houthi group began about a month ago receiving money from European ships in return for their safe passage in the Red Sea off Yemen. Informed sources said, "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."


Al-Ezzi denied that the Houthi group had received money from ships to allow them to sail in the Red Sea. He indicated that 283 ships crossed the Red Sea safely.

However, a source in the Yemeni government confirmed to Sheba Intelligence the Houthi group had collected money from some European ships to be able to pass safely in the Red Sea off Yemen. 

Yemenis have been divided over forcing ships to pay money in return for a safe journey in the Red Sea. While some say the Houthi group has capitalized on the Gaza-Israel war to create money by disrupting the shipping lines, others say Yemen has the right to collect money from ships passing the Bab El-Mandeb as Eygpt does in the Suez Canal.

On Monday, the E.U. formally launched a naval mission to protect commercial vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks.

The Houthis have been targeting cargo ships in the Red Sea owned or operated by Israeli companies or transporting goods to and from Israel in "solidarity" with Gaza, which has been under an Israeli war since October 7 of last year.