Red Sea Peril Rises, Major Shippers Halt Mandeb Strait Transits

Published by The War Zone

by Howard Altman|

Two of the world’s largest shipping companies have decided to pause transits into the Red Sea after the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels stepped up vessel attacks this week, including setting two more ships ablaze today.

Both the Danish Maersk and German Hapag-Lloyd shippers placed temporary bans on their ships passing through the narrow Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea, which has become an increasingly dangerous chokepoint.

As a result of today’s attacks and the near-miss yesterday on the Maersk Gibraltar, the Danish Maersk shipping company told us today that it is instructing all its ships scheduled to pass through the Bab al-Mandab to “pause their journey until further notice.”

“We are deeply concerned about the highly escalated security situation in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the company said in a statement to The War Zone. “The recent attacks on commercial vessels in the area are alarming and pose a significant threat to the safety and security of seafarers.”

The German Hapag-Lloyd company, which controls about 7% of the global container ship fleet, told CNBC in an email, that it will “pause all container ship traffic through the Red Sea until Monday. Then we will decide for the period thereafter.”

The moves come after two more cargo ships were attacked by the Houthis in the Red Sea Friday while a third was threatened, a U.S. military official told The War Zone.


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