It occurred after a series of drone and missile assaults attributed to the Houthi militants in Yemen. By threatening to attack ships, the organization hopes to exert pressure on Israel to cease its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Two of the largest maritime companies globally have ceased all voyages through the Red Sea in response to an increase in recent vessel attacks.
On Thursday, Maersk, the Danish multinational corporation, announced that it would “pause” all container shipments until further notice in the wake of a near-miss involving its Maersk Gibraltar vessel.
In the interim, Hapag-Lloyd, a German company, announced that it, too, was suspending voyages until at least Monday following the Friday attack on one of its vessels. A spokesperson further stated, “We will make a decision regarding the subsequent period.”
After Yemeni Houthi attacks in the Bab al Mandeb Strait, the southernmost tip of the Red Sea, it occurred.
Voyages believed to be traveling to or from Israel will be targeted by the group. This is done to exert pressure on the country to cease bombarding the Gaza Strip amid its conflict with Hamas.
Concerns have been raised that global supply chains could be significantly disrupted if the attacks persist.
Houthi Attacks Disrupt Key Shipping Route to Israel
The congested, narrow waterway is a vital maritime commerce route for vessels en route to and from the Suez Canal.
Houthis claim responsibility for at least two cargo ship strikes on Friday.
A missile strike targeted the MSC Palatium III; however, the extent of casualties is currently unknown, according to officials.
The Hapag-Lloyd-operated Al Jasrah was struck by an unidentified projectile earlier in the day.
One container was purportedly ejected into the ocean, and a fire broke out on board due to the strike.
A company spokesperson stated that there were no injuries to crew members.
Houthi forces pledge to obstruct any vessel en route to Israeli harbors.
Houthis assert that they will maintain their threats against shipping until Israel acquiesces to their concerns.
Brigadier Yahya Saree, a spokesman for the rebels, stated, “The Yemeni armed forces confirm they will continue to block the [Red Sea] from all vessels bound for Israeli ports until they deliver the food and medicine that our devoted brothers in the Gaza Strip require.”
Maersk has issued the following statement in response to today’s attack on a container ship and yesterday’s near-miss incident involving Maersk Gibraltar: We have ordered all Maersk vessels in the vicinity that are en route through the Bab al Mandeb Strait to suspend operations until further notice.
The Norwegian-owned MT Strinda tanker caught fire last week after a missile hit it off Yemen.
Escalating Tensions: Houthi Actions Impact Naval Operations
Later, shipping company Mowinckel revealed that the vessel, which was initially reported to be transporting biofuel from Malaysia to Italy, had “tentatively” been planned to halt at the Israeli port of Ashdod.
On Wednesday, the US Navy said it shot down a suspected Houthi drone approaching a warship.
It occurred as the commercial ship Ardmore Encounter was under attack from two missiles and a small watercraft.
In November, the Houthis captured a cargo ship suspected of having ties to Israel in the Red Sea. It is currently in their control near Hodeida.
Yemen is divided between Saudi-backed government forces and Iran-backed Houthi rebels with British military aid.
Recent years have seen the nation embroiled in a catastrophic civil war; however, a provisional ceasefire is presently underway.
Israel would “act to remove this blockade” if the threats persisted, according to Tzachi Hanegbi, the country’s national security adviser, who urged Western allies to do more to combat the assaults over the weekend.