Italian navy to send frigate to boost Red Sea security
Originally posted on Reuters - By Angelo Amante and Alvise Armellini
The Italian navy will "in the coming hours" send one of its frigates to help protect the Red Sea shipping route against attacks by Yemen's Houthi militants, Italy's defence ministry said on Tuesday.
The attacks, a response to Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, target a key supply link between Asia and Europe, driving up the cost of shipping as companies seek alternative maritime routes and threatening the global economy.
"Italy will do its part, together with the international community, to counter the terrorist destabilisation activity of the Houthis," Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said after a video call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The U.S. earlier announced it would lead a multinational effort to safeguard commerce in the Red Sea.
Confirming an earlier media report, a source at the Italian defense ministry said the Virginio Fasan frigate would head to the Red Sea as part of the European Union's naval operation Atalanta, which has been in place since late 2008.
The Italian statement said Crosetto and Austin discussed options to guarantee the security of maritime routes and avoid repercussions for the international economy.
"It is necessary to increase (military) presence in the area to create the conditions for stabilisation, avoid ecological disasters, and prevent a resumption of inflationary pressure," Crosetto said in the statement.