Maersk Shipping Line to return to Red Sea despite Houthi threats

December 26, 2023, 12:46 pm

JERUSALEM – Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies said on Sunday that it will resume operations in the Red Sea despite Houthi threats, the Danish company announced on Sunday.

“As of Sunday 24 December 2023, we have received confirmation that the previously announced multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) has now been set up and deployed to allow maritime commerce to pass through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway between Asia and Europe. This is most welcome news for the entire industry and indeed the functionality of global trade,” the company said in a statement.

“With the OPG initiative in operation, we are preparing to allow for vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound. We are currently working on plans for the first vessels to make the transit and for this to happen as soon as operationally possible,” the statement added.

Operation Prosperity Guardian is a US-led multinational coalition of naval forces protecting shipping in the Red Sea.

From bases along the Yemeni coast, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have threatened ships in the Red Sea as they traverse the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, a narrow maritime chokepoint between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The majority of the world’s oil passes through the strait from the Indian Ocean towards the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Houthis vowed in early December to target any Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea, regardless of its ownership. They have attacked or harassed a number of ships, and hijacked the Galaxy Leader in November. The cargo ship and its crew of 25 are being held hostage in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. (TPS)