Access the latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory for the week commencing 9th October 2023.

👉 In light of the recent surprise offensive by Hamas against Israel on 7 October 2023, the maritime domain faces a potential shift in security dynamics. It has been reported that Hamas fighters launched a surprise offensive against Israel, and crossed the border into the country after an early morning barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Due to the re-escalation Israeli ports are deemed to be at heightened risk. With continuous rocket barrages expected from Gaza, alongside the potential for a protracted conflict the damage to port infrastructure becomes increasingly probable. The ports of Ashkelon and Ashdod, due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip, are particularly vulnerable. Emerging reports, evidenced by social media images, show vehicles ablaze at Ashkelon port, believed to be the aftermath of missile strikes. It is worth noting that while militants in Gaza possess limited precision targeting capabilities, past attempts, such as the one in May 2021 against the Tamar offshore gas rig, and previous attacks involving the ports of Ashkelon and Ashdod underline the risks.

Although the C-Dome system (Israeli maritime air defence system) showed promise in repelling advanced threats during its May 2023 tests, it is understood to yet to have been fully deployed, potentially leaving some marine assets in the Israeli Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) exposed.

Noting that a number of security companies are advising commercial operators to avoid Israeli waters, limited commercial operations have persisted. Over the past weekend, merchant ships have both entered and left the ports of Ashdod and Haifa. In the case of Haifa the risk from rockets launched from Gaza remains low, due to their limited range, an escalated response from Lebanese Hezbollah could pose a significant threat. The Red Sea port of Eliat, distant from Gaza, presents a somewhat diminished risk
given the current targeting capacities.

However, commercial undertakings are bound to face disruptions in the immediate future. Prolonged disturbances at Israel's three largest ports—Haifa, Ashdod, and Eilat—could severely hamper imports and exports, encompassing vital sectors like agriculture, electronics, and machinery.