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France: TotalEnergies no longer sending ships through Red Sea

February 7, 2024 at 11:44 am

A view of French petroleum company TotalEnergies building in Paris, France on October 3, 2023 [Mohamad Salaheldin Abdelg Alsayed – Anadolu Agency]

TotalEnergies has not sent ships through the southern strait leading to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal for several weeks, extending their travel time to Europe, the French energy giant said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Maritime traffic through Bab El-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea has been disrupted by Houthi attacks on merchant vessels connected in any way to Israel. The move by the Yemeni movement is said to be in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Freight costs have been driven up as a result, and traffic is restricted.

The CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, said that the costs of going through the Red Sea have gone up in part due to higher insurance costs. “The conflict between the Houthis and the US-led coalition is having a significant impact on the region,” he explained. “So we’re careful and are no longer crossing the Red Sea.”

The Houthis efforts to invoke the Genocide Convention to stop Israel’s military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza have forced some shipping companies to reroute their ships around the southern tip of Africa. “It’s four days to make the full trip compared to going through the Red Sea for an LNG carrier,” said Pouyanne.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said today that delays in oil product deliveries due to ships being diverted to avoid attacks in the Red Sea were impacting product markets in Europe in particular.

READ: US says Houthis conducted anti-ship ballistic missile attacks in Red Sea, Gulf of Aden