Middle EastOperationsPiracy

Ships targeted off Yemen

Houthi militias have repeated they are out to target commercial ships transiting near war-torn Yemen.

“We will take measures we have not taken before and we can target oil ships. We can do anything,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the so-called supreme revolutionary committee of the Houthi militias, said on Facebook.

Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the Houthi leader, is also reported as saying that if “the Saudi-led coalition wants oil ships to be safe then it better not invade” Hodeidah.

Saudi Arabia has become heavily embroiled in the bitter civil war in Yemen.

Last month the Asian Shipowners’ Association called for the guidelines for ships transiting the notoriously unstable Horn of Africa to be updated to better reflect the changing geopolitical situation in the region.

BMP4 are the guidelines in question, which were created by both commercial shipping organisations and a joint naval coalition in response to the threat of Somali piracy which was at its most rampant at the start of the decade.

The Asian Shipowners’ Association said in a release that the situation off the Horn of Africa has grown “increasingly complex”, with “increasing geo-political tensions”, particularly in Yemen, and an increased risk from other threats such as terrorism.

The association called for the industry to update BMP4 to reflect the current situation in the region so as to ensure that seafarers have access to the most relevant and up-to-date information.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Even if the BMP4 document has not been updated, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has a establish a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC).

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