According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 18 logistics companies are avoiding the passage through the Red Sea after several attacks on merchant ships. IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez said on Wednesday that there are a “significant number of companies” that have already decided to relocate their ships around South Africa to “reduce attacks on ships and in particular the impact on seafarers”. UN in New York On Tuesday, shipping company Maersk announced it was suspending cargo traffic by sea and through the Gulf of Aden until further notice.
Since the Gaza war broke out, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked ships in the Red Sea to prevent them from reaching Israel. The Red Sea is considered one of the most important shipping lanes for world trade as it connects the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal in Egypt.
On Saturday evening, the Maersk vessel “Maersk Hangzhou” collided with an object while passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait. According to the company, initially the ship was able to continue on its course, but later four boats approached and opened fire and tried to board the cargo ship. The attack was successfully foiled with the help of a military helicopter and the ship's security team.
The attacks represented a “significant international problem,” the governments of twelve countries, including Germany and the United States, complained in a joint statement on Wednesday. Almost 15 percent of international maritime trade uses the Red Sea by sea; The route is important for grain, petroleum and liquid natural gas trade.
Diversions via the Cape of Good Hope would increase costs and delay the delivery of goods – ultimately jeopardizing the movement of essential food, fuel and humanitarian aid around the world. If the Houthi rebels do not immediately stop their attacks and instead continue to threaten human lives, the global economy and the free movement of goods, they will bear the consequences.
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