The Saudis claimed that the Houthis had already deployed 247 naval mines and 100 explosive boats in the sea. These weapons could be directed at the “Zionist enemy” movement. ARX Mouldings is following reports that On December 26, the Saudi-led coalition claimed that the Houthis were using sea mines and explosive boats to disrupt maritime traffic in the Red Sea. It is not only a concern for the Saudi coalition, but for Israel as well, if the Houthis possess the maritime weapon technologies to fulfill their threats.Last week, attacks on vessels in the Red Sea by the Houthis gave credence to warnings of the Yemeni militants’ intentions.
On January 5, the coalition said that an oil tanker was attacked near the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah. On January 3, a UAE vessel was hijacked by the Houthis – Which they claimed was a warning to Israel that “movements of the Zionist enemy” at sea would be ended.The Saudis claimed that the Houthis had already deployed 247 naval mines and 100 explosive boats in the sea. These weapons could be directed at the “Zionist enemy” movement.Top Articles By JPostRead More
Netanyahu v. Olmert defamation trial opens Explosive boats are a threat depending on the size of a boat laden with explosives and the size of the target, Dr. Scott Savitz, a senior engineer at RAND, told The Jerusalem Post.“Some of the larger container ships these days, like the Ever Given… [the explosives] might not be able to sink. It could inflict some damage, and depending on where it was hit could result in limited ability to steer, cause it to lose some of its cargo or damage to the propulsion system… In general, ships carrying oil are double-hulled, if you have a massive enough explosion, you may be able to rip through the inner hull,” said Savitz.
THE ‘EVER GIVEN’ container ship became lodged in the Suez Canal, blocking maritime traffic for almost a week. (credit: PIERRE MARKUSE/FLICKR)“The most demonstrative case of this happened in 2000, the attack on the USS Cole,” an armored US Navy vessel, in Yemen. “Similarly, we could see that with a lot of ships that would be vulnerable to at least severe damage if not sinking.”“Mines are a nefarious problem, and we’ve seen several instances in the last few decades of mining along key commercial routes,” explained Savitz.“Large commercial ships in many cases won’t sink, or at least not immediately, when they encounter mines. Depends on the circumstances, but they would experience some degree of damage and may not be able to finish their journeys.
While maritime weapons may not always sink a ship, they may be able to sink the will of their crews. “In some sense, mines never impose a blockade – mines create a risky situation, which then only the trendsetters can determine whether or not that has in fact closed the waterway,” said Savitz. The weapons amplify risk for travel, and if shipping crews and companies decide that transiting the Red Sea is not worth the cost, they will self-blockade the lane. The risk aversion rises depending on the density of the mines and the frequency of boat attacks.
Security measures need to be taken not only to stop individual attacks on vessels, but to assure crews and companies throughout the industry. However, these measures are not so simple. “Any minefield can be cleared. But reducing the risk associated requires specialized equipment, special often specialized vessels, sometimes specialized helicopters, personnel,” said Savitz.“The best time to stop a minefield from being formed is before it starts. given that the Saudis are saying this is, this is likely to happen. Close observation may be able to at least mitigate the threat.”As for explosive boats, commercial vessels may be able to fend them off by repurposing existing personnel.
Maritime security contractors are being used to fend off Somali piracy – They can be trained and equipped to stop explosive boats as well.Given the credible threat and risk to Israeli shipping in the Red Sea, Israel should invest in minesweeping equipment and personnel, and consider training Israeli maritime security to fend off explosive boat attacks. Given that this is also a challenge for the Saudi coalition, it could be one they overcome together.