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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Maersk suspends cruises through the Red Sea. Because of the Houthi attacks

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The Danish container company Maersk announced that it was suspending transport through the Red Sea. The decision was made after a series of attacks on ships carried out by Yemen’s Houthi movement, supported by Iran.

Group Houthis has declared support for Hamas and says it is targeting ships sailing to Israel.

The Red Sea is one of the world’s most important transport routes.

“The recent attacks on merchant ships in this region are alarming and pose a serious threat to the safety of seafarers,” Maersk said in a statement to the BBC.

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Maersk suspends cruises

“Following yesterday’s near-miss incident involving the Maersk Gibraltar, and another attack on a container ship today, we have instructed all Maersk vessels in the area scheduled to transit the Bab al-Mandab Strait to suspend transportation until further notice,” she stressed. Danish company.

The Strait of Bab al-Mandab – also known as the Gate of Tears – is a 20-mile (32 km) wide channel. It lies in between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea on the African coast.

It is a route by which ships can reach the Suez Canal from the south, and is a major shipping lane in itself. Avoiding it means ships have to take much longer routes, for example around southern Africa.

About 17,000 flow through it every year. ships.

Maersk container shipSheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

Houthi attacks

Houthi attacks on ships and ships in the Red Sea have been repeated since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas. The Houthis also said that attacks on ships would continue until Israel halts its offensive in Gaza.

Maers’ German competitor, Hapag-Lloyd, said on Friday evening that it was suspending transport through the Red Sea until Monday.

Earlier on Friday, the Houthis attacked two commercial ships in the Red Sea: the MSC Palatium III container ship owned by a Swiss company and a container ship owned by Hapag-Lloyd AG.

On Thursday, after further attacks supported by Iran Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, US special envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking said that Washington wants to assemble “the broadest possible maritime coalition” that will prevent such attacks.

Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani protested and said that Tehran would not allow such an international maritime group to operate in the area “dominated by Iran”.

Maersk issued a statement on Thursday evening calling for “political action that will lead to a rapid de-escalation” of attacks in the region. The company also warned that “the current situation puts the lives of seafarers at risk and threatens global trade.”

Also on Thursday, the Houthis attacked the Maersk Gibraltar with a missile; the missile passed the container ship, but a group claiming to be the “Yemeni Navy” ordered the vessel to change course and sail to the coast of Yemen.

In recent weeks, the Houthis have also repeatedly tried to fire missiles at Eilat and targeted ships passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a strategic waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Arabian Sea.

Main photo source: David G40 / Shutterstock

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