An EU operation to protect shipping lanes and commercial vessels from Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea will be called “Aspides,” (Greek for shields), according to European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

The latter spoke on Wednesday morning during his arrival for an informal council of EU Defense Ministers in Brussels.

He said the mission’s focus is on protecting vessels, not engaging in any action against the north Yemen-based Houthis. He also expressed a hope that the operation could commence on Feb. 17.

At the same time, he emphasized the need to decide which country would take command, where the operation’s headquarters would be located and what naval assets member-states would make available.

According to European sources, there are discussions underway relating to the upgraded role of the Hellenic Navy in the joint mission.

In attending an informal council, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias said he will propose that the Hellenic Navy and general staff assume command of the operation and its headquarters be based in the central Greece city of Larissa, which hosts a major NATO-specifications base.