Major shipping companies suspend Red Sea journeys following Houthi attacks

Yemen’s Houthi movement has launched more than 10 attacks on ships in the area since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

A number of major global shipping companies have announced they are suspending journeys through the Red Sea following a spate of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group.

AP Møller-Mærsk, or Maersk, which operates the world’s second-largest container shipping fleet, said on Friday that it had instructed all vessels due to pass through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait to “pause their journey until further notice.”

The Bab al-Mandab strait is a strategically important sea lane that runs past Yemen and through which much of the world’s oil is shipped. The strait is a key conduit to the Suez Canal.

Copenhagen-based Maersk said that recent attacks on commercial vessels in the southern Red Sea “are alarming and pose a significant threat to the safety and security of seafarers.”

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Maersk was joined on Saturday by the Swiss-based MSC and the French shipping group CMA CGM, who also halted their operations.

“The situation is further deteriorating and concern for safety is increasing,” CMA CGM said in a statement.
The German container line Hapag Lloyd had said that it might do the same.

Meanwhile, Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodities traders, said it was “taking additional precautions” for its owned and chartered vessels, according to the Financial Times.

The Liberian-flagged MSC Palatium III was attacked on Friday with a drone in the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea. No injuries were reported, but the vessel suffered some fire damage and was taken out of service, MSC said in a statement.

The Bab al-Mandab strait is a strategically important sea lane that runs past Yemen and through which much of the world’s oil is shipped. The strait is a key conduit to the Suez Canal.

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