Access the latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory for the week commencing 18th December 2023.

👉 The recent cadence of events within the Red Sea has increased significantly, bringing the total number of incidents since 19 November 23 to 17.

In addition to events in the Red Sea region, rising tensions in the South China Sea indicate an escalation between China and the Philippines. Chinese Coast Guard water cannons disabled a Philippine boat, as the most serious of four major incidents this year in the waters near Second Thomas Shoal, a feature China claims as its territory but where Philippine marines man an outpost on a grounded ship. The Philippine boats were attempting to bring supplies to the badly deteriorating ship, the Sierra Madre, when the Chinese Coast Guard intervened.

This week, the JWC has announced JWLA 032, which has included the addition of a maritime HRA offshore Guyana. Notably, the zone excluded territorial waters but included the country’s EEZ. The addition of the Guyana HRA provides cover for shipping companies operating within the country’s offshore domain, where Venezuela has laid a competing territorial claim, including all offshore oil and gas exploration and infrastructure.

In addition, the JWC extended the Red Sea HRA north from 15N to 18N. This is designed to provide coverage in response to the latest attacks by Houthi rebels.
However, several attacks have been reported during the past week. The current spate of attacks has led the US to establish an extended maritime security mechanism known as Operation Prosperity Guardian. Pentagon statements suggest this new maritime security architecture is to sit under the umbrella of TF153 and will include 9 of the original 39 member states. It remains unclear what the new operation will do and how. It is unclear what the new operation will do and how. It is unclear what assets will also be used.

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