U.S. shipping corridors that are used by energy exporters in the Gulf are currently not at risk from Yemen’s political volatility or violence and the seizures of large sections of territory in area by militants from Islamic State, a senior naval officer in the U.S. said.
John Miller a Vice Admiral at Naval Central Command said that a robust international and U.S. maritime presence helped to minimize the threats to countries that are oil producing in the region.
The waterways that the commander was speaking about were the narrow channel Bab el Mandab, the Suez Canal one of the busiest waterways in the world that connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean, as well as the Strait of Hormuz that lies between Oman and Iran, the most import export route for oil in the world,
Miller said the combined maritime forces of the international coalitions in Bahrain carry out joint security patrols against smuggling, piracy and militancy and operates up to 70 vessels in any one day.
However, he said a group such as Islamic State could surprise them, so they are working hard at eliminating the opportunity for surprise and that is done through a strong maritime presence.
He said in the Suez Canal there has been seen a consistency despite the unrest that had taken place in Egypt of a secure canal that has been properly administered.
However, he said the events that have taken place in Yemen where the armed group the Houthis replaces the former government in January is a dynamic ongoing situation.
Yemen’s instability, he added is something with a potential to create instability in the Bab el Mandab strait, at the southern end of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aden, which is a cause for concern.
The U.S. and allies regularly are staging naval exercises somewhere in the Gulf saying they want to make sure freedom of navigation always remains in place.