In response to the attack on its vessel Maersk Hangzhou on December 30, Danish shipping company A.P. Moeller-Maersk has announced a temporary suspension of all transit through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, and as a precautionary measure, some vessels will be rerouted to travel around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
The targeted vessel, Maersk Hangzhou, is a container ship flying the Singaporean flag and operates along the Europe-Asia route. It was subjected to a missile attack on Saturday evening, followed by four boats attempting to board it and shooting at it, according to Moller-Maersk.
Immediate action was taken by U.S. Navy helicopters from nearby vessels on Sunday, as they responded to the boats controlled by the Houthis – an Iranian-backed rebel group in Yemen – which were firing at Maersk Hangzhou. Three of these boats were sunk, resulting in the death of their crews, while the fourth boat managed to escape. The Houthis later claimed responsibility for the attack, acknowledging a loss of 10 fighters.
Another shipping company, Hapag-Lloyd, has also announced its decision to avoid transits through the Red Sea and will reroute its vessels around the Cape of Good Hope until at least January 9 as a result of these recent attacks.
It remains essential for companies within the shipping industry to prioritize safety and security while managing their operations in these turbulent waters.