The World Shipping Council (WSC) today expressed gratitude to EUNAVFOR on the launch of Operation ASPIDES, a defensive maritime security operation to  safeguard freedom of navigation in the Red Sea  – and adjacent international waters.

The Red Sea and the Suez Canal is a critical artery for EU trade, and Operation ASPIDES is expected to play a key role in defending seafarers, commercial and security interests in the region. WSC strongly appreciates the commitment of the EU as evidenced by today’s decision to make an important contribution to maritime security alongside other international partners and in cooperation with EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA.

The security situation around the Red Sea continues to be dire, with vessels attempting to transit being fired upon with missiles and drones as well as suffering attacks from armed fighters on the water. Carriers are adapting to the situation in the way that best keeps seafarers, cargo and vessels safe while at the same time serving customers’ needs.

Safe passage for seafarers and trade through this strategic waterway needs to be reestablished as soon as possible. WSC calls on all nations and international organisations to protect seafarers, and international trade in the Red Sea, through all available diplomatic and defensive means.