Maersk, the world’s largest shipping line, has ceased operations in the Red Sea following an attack by Houthi militants on one of its vessels. The vessel, a chemical tanker carrying diesel fuel, was sailing from the Saudi port of Jeddah to the Yemeni Port of Hudaida when militants fired an RPG at it on 23 October.
In response, Maersk has put a halt on all shipping services in the Red Sea “until further notice”, citing security concerns.
The company has stated that it is committed to the safety of its staff and vessels, and that it is taking all necessary steps to ensure the security of its activities in the area. This includes using the guidance and advice of global security firms to assess the situation as well as consulting with local authorities.
Maersk also noted that it’s closely monitoring the situation and is actively engaging with naval and security forces in order to ensure the safety of its vessels and crews.
The company’s statement comes at a delicate time in the Red Sea, where escalating tension between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi rebels has led to increased activity from the latter, which reportedly includes ship hijacking and attacks on vessels.
The risks associated with sailing in the Red Sea have been highlighted by humanitarian groups, which are now calling on all parties to stop acts of aggression and to increase efforts to protect navigation and humanitarian aid in the area.