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Shipping Lines bypass Red Sea

Shipping Lines bypass Red Sea

Most of the world’s shipping firms, have this week suspended passage through the Red Sea after Yemeni Houthi drone attacks.

Iranian-backed Houthis, who control much of Yemen but are not recognised internationally, say they’re targeting shipping to pressure Israel who is warring with Hamas forces controlling Gaza.

German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd said it was halting Red Sea containership traffic after Houthis attacked one of its vessels.

Said Denmark’s Maersk, the world’s No 2 carrier: “We have instructed all Maersk vessels in the area bound to pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait to pause their journey until further notice,” it said.

Maersk said this followed a “near-miss incident in which Houthi forces struck a Hapag-Lloyd ship. A US defence official identified them as the Liberia-flagged 14,500-TEU Al-Jasrah.

A Hapag-Lloyd spokesman said there had been an attack on one of its ships while en route from Piraeus to Singapore. There were no casualties and the ship continued on its way.

Later in the day during a pro-Palestinian rally in the Houthi-held Yemeni capital, Sanaa, rebels said they attacked two other ships in the area.

“Container ships MSC Palatium and MSC Alanya were targeted by two naval missiles as they were heading toward the Israeli entity,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a broadcast on the rebels’ television channel.

The Houthis said that, in an earlier attack, the Maersk Gibraltar vessel was “targeted with a drone and the hit was direct”. According to a US official, the missile missed.

The US military said it shot down 14 drones in the Red Sea launched from Houthi areas on commercial carriers.

Swiss-Italian Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world’s biggest carrier and No 3 carrier, French shipping giant CMA CGM has said they won’t send their vessels through the Red Sea.

The unmanned aerial drones were shot down with no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries, US Central Command said in a post on X.

The drones were struck down by the USS Carney guided missile destroyer early on Saturday. The Royal Navy also repelled a suspected drone attack.

MSC ships said that they too will not transit the Suez Canal and that some services would take the Cape route instead.

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