Shipping firms avoid Red Sea as Houthi attacks increase


By Reuters

Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea to show their support for Palestinian Islamist group Hamas fighting Israel in Gaza.

The attacks, targeting a route that allows East-West trade, especially of oil, to use the Suez Canal to save the time and expense of circumnavigating Africa, have pushed some shipping companies to re-route vessels to avoid the area.

Below are companies (in alphabetical order) that are considering or have decided to pause shipping via the Red Sea:


Oil major BP on Dec. 18 said it had temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea.


French shipping group CMA CGM on Dec. 16 said it was pausing all container shipments through the Red Sea.


Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor on Dec. 18 said it had re-routed some vessels that had been heading towards the Red Sea.


Belgian oil tanker firm Euronav said on Dec. 18 it would avoid the Red Sea area until further notice.


Taiwanese container shipping line Evergreen said on Dec. 18 its vessels on regional services to Red Sea ports would sail to safe waters nearby and wait for further notification, while ships scheduled to pass through the Red Sea would be re-routed around the Cape of Good Hope. It also temporarily stopped accepting Israeli cargo.


Norway-based oil tanker group Frontline said on Dec. 18 that its vessels will avoid passages through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the time ahead, boosting the rates customers must pay for crude transport


German container shipping line Hapag Lloyd said on Dec. 18 it would re-route several ships via the Cape of Good Hope until the safety of passage through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea could be guaranteed.

A projectile believed to be a drone struck its vessel Al Jasrah on Dec. 15, while sailing close to the coast of Yemen. No crew were injured.


Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk on Dec. 15 said it would pause all container shipments through the Red Sea until further notice, following a “near-miss incident” involving its vessel Maersk Gibraltar a day earlier.

The ship was targeted by a missile while travelling from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the company said.


Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said on Dec. 16 its ships would not transit through the Suez Canal, with some already rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope, a day after Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at its MSC Palatium III vessel. The decision will disrupt sailing schedules by several days, the Switzerland-based group said.


Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has stopped cargo acceptance to and from Israel until further notice, the shipping company owned by Hong Kong-based Oriental Overseas (International) Ltd (0316.HK) said on Dec. 16.


Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport said on Dec. 18 it would divert ships sailing through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden via the Cape of Good Hope for the next two weeks.

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Let Marine and Blue Economy Ministry operations be guided by well-informed policy framework  – Prof. Anetekhai advises FG

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