US warns ships to stay well away from Bab al-Mandeb Strait

Aqaba, Jordan – September 2014 – This stunning photograph captures the beauty of a beautiful sunny afternoon at Aqaba beach, which serves as Jordan's window on the Red Sea. In the background, you can see the impressive Flagpole and port facilities, adding to the picturesque coastal scenery.

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have warned all ships to ‘stay well away’ from the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a message sent out by the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) to its members.

According to the news agency, the INTERTANKO note stated that ‘the threat period for shipping is expected to last for several days’.

The warning comes following a major escalation in the Red Sea region. On Thursday night, the US and UK launched missile strikes against 28 Houthi sites in Yemen in response to the Shi’a Islamist group’s ongoing attacks against commercial vessels.

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who have been demanding an end to Israel’s war on Gaza, have vowed to retaliate for the US-led strikes, threatening further regional instability.

Argus Media reported on Friday that the tanker companies Hafnia, Stena Bulk, and Torm have said they will stop sending ships through the southern Red Sea. It added that the Belgian tanker owner Euronav is also avoiding the area.

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