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FACTBOX - Shipping firms avoid Red Sea as Houthi attacks increase

December 18, 2023 at 4:40 pm

02 Maxar medium view satellite imagery off the southern Red Sea near Hudaydah [Satellite image (c) 2023 Maxar Technologies]

Houthis in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea to show their support for Palestinian 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.

READ: Yemen: ‘explosion’ reported near vessel close to Bab Al-Mandab Strait

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


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


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


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


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


Taiwanese container shipping line, Evergreen, said on 18 December  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 18 December 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 18 December 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 15 December, while sailing close to the coast of Yemen. No crew were injured.


Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, on 15 December, 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 16 December 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 said on 16 December.

Yang Ming Marine Transport 

Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport said on 18 December 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.

WATCH: Houthis disrupt Israeli trade, inflict multi-billion dollar blow

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