Weathering Anti-Ship Attacks in Bab el-Mandeb

Shipping companies should be concerned by militant attacks, especially those emanating from Yemen. Militants are often less deterred by the standard counterpiracy measures ships typically rely on, including accelerating, changing course, blocking pirates from reaching the deck and employing armed guards. These tactics are meant to prevent thieves from boarding a ship and taking control of it; they are less effective in thwarting attacks meant to damage or destroy a ship.
Armed guards can do little against anti-ship missiles or small boats laden with explosives, and regional naval patrols cannot respond quickly enough to stop such attacks. Moreover, the European Union’s NAVFOR Somalia mandate will be up at the end of the year, and it is unclear whether it will be extended. However, one thing is certain: If the threat in the Bab el-Mandeb shifts from piracy to militancy, shipping companies will have to rethink their safety protocols.
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