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22 June, 2024
 
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18 major shipping companies divert routes away from Red Sea

Maritime industry adapts to escalating security threats, rerouting vessels amidst rising tensions

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In response to a surge in attacks on merchant ships, 18 significant shipping companies have opted to avoid transiting the Red Sea, as reported by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez informed the UN Security Council on Wednesday that a substantial number of companies have rerouted their vessels around Africa to mitigate the impact of attacks on seafarers.

Danish shipping giant Maersk took a notable step on Tuesday by announcing the indefinite suspension of cargo transports through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The decision comes in the wake of repeated attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who claim these merchant ships are linked to Israeli interests or heading to Israeli ports, particularly since the outbreak of the Israel/Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The Red Sea, a critical sea route connecting the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal, handles approximately 12% of the world's trade, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Maersk's Hangzhou vessel faced an attack in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, with four boats opening fire and attempting to board the ship. Swift action by a military helicopter and the ship's private guards successfully repelled the attack.

In response to these attacks, a joint statement by 12 governments, including the United States, was issued on Wednesday, declaring the Houthi attacks a serious "international problem." The statement urged the Shiite armed movement to cease these actions immediately, warning of consequences if they persist. Reports indicate that the Biden administration is considering potential strikes against the Houthi rebels.

[Information sourced from AMPA]

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