Maersk Temporarily Suspends Red Sea Transits After Houthi Attack In Red Sea

According to statements made on Sunday by American Maersk, as well as Houthi officials, the U.S. helicopters stopped an attack on a container vessel of Maersk by Houthi militants in the Red Sea backed by Iran, sinking three ships and killing ten militants. Around 3:30 PM GMT on Sunday, the attackers tried to board Maersk Hangzhou, which was flying the flag of Singapore, according to both Maersk and the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Following a distress call, helicopters from USS Gravely and Eisenhower assisted the ship’s security staff in thwarting the assault, according to CENTCOM.

Following the attack, Maersk announced that it was stopping all shipping across the Red Sea for 48 hours. Per a Houthi spokesman, the crew members of the vessel disregarded warnings, which is why they carried out the attack. He said that ten Houthi navy members were deceased and missing following an American military bombardment on their boats in the Red Sea.

Maersk
Image for representation purpose only

The naval engagement highlights the possibility of a regional flare-up as Israel carries out its ceaseless bombing campaign in response to Hamas’s unexpected cross-border raid on Israeli towns on October 7, which resulted in 1,200 fatalities and the kidnapping of 240 hostages. Over 21,800 people have died as a result of Israel’s air and artillery shelling, according to Gaza’s health authority.

Since November, the Houthis from Yemen have been attacking ships in the Red Sea to demonstrate their support for Hamas. As a result, large maritime corporations have chosen to avoid using the Suez Canal and instead take the more expensive and time-consuming channel around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

The Suez Canal manages about 12% of world trade and is crucial for the transportation of commodities between Europe and Asia, entering the Red Sea through it. On December 19, the United States announced the start of Operation Prosperity Guardian, stating that more than 20 nations had committed to helping protect ships in the Red Sea waters close to Yemen. On December 24, Maersk, a leading global freight transporter, announced that it would start operating again in the Red Sea. Attacks have persisted, though, and American allies have shown themselves hesitant to fully commit to the coalition—nearly half have not made a public declaration of their participation.

It was the second assault on the Maersk Hangzhou in as many days following the disastrous Houthi boarding operation. On Saturday, a missile struck the ship, which is travelling from Singapore with 14,000 containers, roughly 55 nm southwest of Al Hodeidah in Yemen. The shipping business also stated that there was no sign of a fire on board the Maersk Hangzhou crew, and the ship proceeded northward toward the Suez Canal.

When questioned on ABC’s “Good Morning America” if Washington was thinking about taking immediate action on the Houthis, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby did not disclose what alternatives the country is evaluating. They have communicated to the Houthis both openly and in secret, as well as to partners and allies in the area, their seriousness about these dangers.

In an article published in the Daily Telegraph, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps stated: They will not hesitate to take additional steps to deter threats to the liberty of navigation in the Red Sea. They are ready for direct action. He stated that the Houthis should not misunderstand: we are dedicated to holding evil actors responsible for illegitimate attacks and seizures. Earlier on Sunday, Hossein Amirabdollahian, the Iranian Foreign Minister, was informed by British Foreign Secretary David Cameron over the phone that Iran ought to assist in putting an end to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

Reference: cnbctv18

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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