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MSC to Redirect Shipments From Suez Canal Following Incidents in Red Sea
Economy Middle East

MSC to Redirect Shipments From Suez Canal Following Incidents in Red Sea

According to a statement released on Saturday, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co, the biggest container shipping company in the world, will no longer utilize the Suez Canal due to an assault on one of its vessels.

The Houthi movement, with support from Iran, has been launching attacks on ships in the Red Sea. This area is an important passage for trade between the East and West, particularly for oil transportation using the Suez Canal to save time and money instead of going around Africa.

According to the Houthis, on Friday, the Liberian-flagged vessel MSC Palatium III was targeted by a drone in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which is located at the southern tip of the Red Sea.

According to MSC, there were no reported injuries, but the ship sustained fire damage and was removed from operation. The U.S. military reported that the Al Jasrah, another ship with a Liberian flag, was struck by a missile and also caught on fire.

In recent weeks, the Houthis have increased their attacks on ships and launched drones and missiles towards Israel. On Saturday, they hit the Red Sea city of Eilat, showing their support for Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group backed by Iran, in their fight against Israel in Gaza.

The Houthis, who hold control over a large portion of Yemen, have declared their intent to persist in their assaults until Israel ceases its offensive. However, they clarified on Friday that they are solely targeting vessels destined for Israeli ports.

Unfortunately, both the Palatium III and another MSC ship, the Alanya, were in danger as they had listed Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as their intended destination. This information was gathered from MarineTraffic, a company that specializes in tracking ships and providing maritime analysis.

Bab al-Mandab is one of the world’s most important routes for global seaborne commodity shipments, particularly crude oil and fuel from the Gulf bound westward for the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal or the nearby SUMED pipeline, as well as commodities heading eastward for Asia, including Russian oil.

On Saturday, Britain announced that a warship had intercepted and destroyed a suspected attack drone that was aiming for merchant ships in the Area.

Due to the rise in attacks, Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk announced on Friday that it will temporarily halt all container shipments through Bab al-Mandab. The German container line Hapag Lloyd also stated that it may follow suit, after one of its ships, the Al Jasrah, was reported to have been attacked near Yemen.

MSC announced that they will redirect certain services to avoid the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of Africa, resulting in longer travel times for ships that were scheduled to pass through the Suez Canal.