In the “hiding places” of the Greek business headquarters “EUNAVFOR Aspides” in Larissa SKAI correspondent Panos Garoufalias was found. During the briefing, the invited journalists and photojournalists were shown a video of the operations against the Houthi rebels in the Black Sea.

Operation Shields is active along the main sea lines of communication in the Straits of Baab al-Madab and the Straits of Hormuz, as well as in international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf.

The aim of the business is to raise a “protective shield” on merchant ships to protect trade routes in the region by intercepting attacks rather than active action against the Houthis. At the operational base in Larissa 130 people are employed. The Commander-in-Chief is the Commander-in-Chief Vasilios Gryparis who on Tuesday gave a press conference.

The Commander referred to the history of insurgent attacks in his area as a result of which human lives are lost, but also to force commercial shipping to be diverted around the Cape of Good Hope

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He then dwelt on the nature of the business which, she clarified, is completely defensive.

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“Our mission is strictly defensive and aimed at freedom of navigation, maritime security and de-escalation, in particular protecting commercial shipping traffic passing through the Enterprise Zone. The task of protecting merchant ships maintains a purely defensive character as any response will always come as a consequence of an attack and will be necessary, proportionate and limited to international maritime or airspace,” he said.

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Chief Captain Gryparis focused on what the operation has achieved so far. In particular, as he announced “during the almost 8 weeks of the Operation, the Aspides operation succeeded the protection of 79 merchant ships, helping to restore the confidence of the shipping community to return to the Red Sea and Suez Canal trade routes. ASPIDES is proud to have successfully escorted all protected vessels, as well as responding to all requests for protection by providing escort. Our ships have shot down 9 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while destroying 1 unmanned surface vessel (USV), as well as 4 ballistic missiles, protecting sailors’ lives, cargo and overall free navigation. Of course for all this, we must give due credit to the crews of our ships who provide the protection.”

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The Houthis, adjacent to Irancontrol almost all of northern Yemen, and since late last year have ramped up their attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea in a show of “solidarity” with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, pushing major shipping companies to order their ships to around Africa, making sea transport much more time-consuming and expensive.

They continue to launch missiles and drones, despite a series of missile strikes by the US and British armed forces against their facilities, positions and missiles.

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