Somaliland has enhanced its coastal defences amid rising regional security threats. This response follows recent Red Sea incidents, including US warship USS Carney countering drone and missile attacks from Yemen’s Houthi-controlled areas.
The Ministry of Interior of Somaliland, in a statement released on Monday, emphasized the growing threats in the region, particularly the attacks on both warships and commercial vessels. The statement highlighted, “The urgent need for collaborative action to address the increasing threat of piracy is underscored by these recent incidents.”
Somaliland, which claims a coastline of 850 kilometres, says it has ordered increased patrols along its shores to safeguard its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.
The Somaliland Coast Guard was established in 2009 to combat piracy, and it primarily employs armoured speedboats outfitted with guns supplied by the United Kingdom.
The government is concerned about potential hikes in commodity prices due to increased shipping insurance costs. The Red Sea, a critical global shipping lane, links the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, significantly reducing travel time between Asia and Europe.
On Sunday, The USS Carney shot down three drones after three commercial vessels linked to 14 nations came under attack in the Red Sea. The attacks were launched from Houthi-held areas in Yemen, resulting in two of the ships being struck by missiles, but no casualties were reported.
The Houthis claimed attacks on two Israeli ships. Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree of the Houthi military stated they struck the first vessel with a missile and the second with a drone near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
The Israeli military claimed the ships had no ties to Israel. However, according to the AFP news agency, one of the merchant ships belonged to Israeli businessman Danny Unger. The ship was identified as the Unity Explorer and is registered by the British company Unity.
According to a report by the British maritime security company Ambrey, the Unity Explorer, sailing under the flag of the Bahamas, was “hit by missile fire” while sailing south of Yemen’s western coast.
Earlier this week, the US said its warship USS Mason had captured armed men believed to be Somali nationals who had seized an Israeli-linked tanker off Yemen’s coast. The Unity Explorer had crossed the Suez Canal heading south five days before the incident and turned off its transmitters.
The Houthi movement, which has controlled parts of Yemen since its overthrow of the Yemeni central government in 2014, has begun targeting vessels linked to Israel as a direct response to Israel’s military campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Two weeks ago, another ship owned by Rami Ungar was seized. The Unity Explorer marks the fourth attack on vessels owned by Israeli business figures since the beginning of the conflict: Rami Ungar, Idan Ofer, Eyal Ofer, and now Danny Ungar.
As global shipping becomes an increasing target, the International Chamber of Shipping, headquartered in London, has called upon influential states in the region to exert their power to discourage further aggressive actions that disrupt international trade.
The US said it is actively leading discussions among its allies, forming a naval task force to ensure passage through the Red Sea.