Maersk to Resume Shipping Through Red Sea Despite Ongoing Houthi Threat

Danish shipping powerhouse Maersk has declared its intention of resuming its shipping operations through the Red Sea, after previously suspending its operations due to concerns over the security situation which has been attributed to Houthi attacks.

The decision to halt the operations via the Red Sea was made in mid-December last year following a series of drone and missile attacks on ships in the region. The company announced its plans to get back on track with its operations through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and also resume using the Suez Canal as a key route between Asia and Europe.

The multinational security initiative, called Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG), which aims to enable safe maritime commerce through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, was confirmed to be operational. Maersk is preparing for vessels to commence journey through the region in both eastbound and westbound directions.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin introduced the OPG initiative recently, with more than 20 nations rallying behind the coalition. Countries such as France, Italy, Canada, UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Bahrain, and Seychelles have pledged their support for the initiative.

The initiative came about in response to the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, following Israel’s operations in Palestine. The attacks have reportedly targeted over 15 commercial shipping vessels since October 17, as per information shared by the U.S. Central Command. As a result of these security concerns, Maersk had initially announced the suspension of maritime traffic through the Red Sea, placing the safety of its personnel as a priority.

Now, with Maersk resuming its operations, the company is closely monitoring the situation and assessing the potential impact on various operational aspects like surcharges and diverted vessels. Despite the security measures in place, the overall risk in the region has not been eliminated entirely. Therefore, the company is looking to maintain the flexibility to re-evaluate the situation and implement diversion plans if the safety of its seafarers is deemed to be at risk.

The decision to suspend operations through the Red Sea has given rise to shipping delays and increased costs. As a consequence of the tensions in the region, shipping firms have been diverting vessels to the longer route around Africa, resulting in extended shipping times and amplified costs. Consequently, Maersk announced the application of surcharges starting January 1, as well as additional charges for re-routed vessels.

Operation Prosperity Guardian involves more than 20 nations coming together to ensure safe passage through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The initiative was introduced in a bid to address the security threats posed by the Houthi attacks and secure the interests of the international community. The alliance will deploy military assets to patrol the region and respond to assist commercial vehicles transiting through the area.

This operation covers a vast area and presents a united front to halt the attacks and maintain economic stability and trade prosperity within the region. The coalition has made it clear that the Houthi attacks are being viewed as a direct threat to the global economy and international law, and it will not hesitate to take necessary actions to ensure the security of maritime commerce in the region.


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