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Red Sea Crisis

Ships told to reroute in Indian Ocean as Houthi attack range extends

Source: EU ATALANTA/Marine Traffic heat map EU-ATALANTA-recommended-route.jpg
A Houthi drone strike on an MSC container ship in the Indian Ocean has led to EU Forces advising shipping to avoid the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

EU Naval Force Operation ATALANTA is advising shipping to sail at least 150 nm further east of existing traffic route to avoid the threat of attack from attack from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The MSC Orion was targeted by a UAV southeast of Socotra Island while transiting the Indian Ocean Northbound to Salalah in Oman.

“This attack confirms that potential attacks can take place in the Indian Ocean up to 800 nautical miles from the areas under Houthi control in Yemen,” EU ATALANTA said.

“In light of this attack, assessed UAV range and last public statements, it is suggested to establish an alternative sea route no less than 150 nautical miles east of the current traffic routes.”

Vessels were also recommended to make random speed and course alterations and adopt a more restrictive AIS policy.

EU ATALANTA said it was “crucial” that ships operating Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, especially within 700nm of the Somali Coast adhere to BMP5 recommendations and report any incidents.

As the Houthi lengthen the range of attacks against commercial shipping allied naval forces in the region are increasingly stretched in response.

The Houthi have also threatened to attack vessels in Eastern Mediterranean Sea which are calling at Israeli ports, which is seen as credible in terms of weapons range.