Dutch Naval Ship Karel Doorman Deployed Against Houthi Attacks

Houthi Attacks

This article was last updated on April 5, 2024

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Dutch Naval Ship Karel Doorman Joins the International Effort Against Houthi Attacks

The Dutch naval ship Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman is being dispatched to the Red Sea as part of a European-led operation aimed at quelling Houthi attacks on international oceanic freight. In a statement, outgoing Minister of Defense, Kajsa Ollongren expressed concern over both the safety of international shipping routes and the maintenance of international maritime law, which asserts the freedom of navigation for all vessels.

Role of The Karel Doorman

The Karel Doorman is a logistic support vessel equipped with supplies, fuel, and medical facilities. The ship serves as a fully equipped floating hospital, where critical surgical procedures can be conducted. Scheduled to remain in the Red Sea from early May until mid-August, the Karel Doorman’s facilities will be available not only for the European operation but also for American operations aimed at making oceanic passage safer.

Previous Naval Intervention

Earlier, another Dutch naval frigate, the Zr. Ms. Tromp was deployed to the Red Sea in order to counter aerial attacks executed via drones and missiles. A tragic attack in early March on a Greek-owned vessel resulted in the deaths of three individuals and injuries to several others.

Strategic Importance of Red Sea

The Red Sea, together with Egypt’s Suez Canal, represents the shortest nautical route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. However, the increased frequency of these attacks has forced ships to reroute around the southernmost part of the African continent, which substantially increases costs. This issue impacts both the Netherlands’ economic interests and those of Dutch corporations.

Houthi Aggression

The Houthi faction, based in Yemen, have claimed responsibility for the attacks on vessels linked to Israel, citing their intention to support Palestinians in Gaza as the reasoning behind their aggression. The Houthis represent a section of the Shia Muslim population and are known to be backed by Iran, which also follows the Shia branch of Islam.

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