Illustration; Source: Maersk

Maersk planning to resume Red Sea transits

Danish container shipping major Maersk is preparing to resume vessel transits through the Red Sea following the deployment of naval assets in the region under the multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG).

Illustration; Source: Maersk

Namely, the U.S. has launched a new multinational security operation under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea. 

In addition to the United States, participants include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain.

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Maersk joined numerous carriers in suspending vessel transits in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden following the escalation of the security situation in the region and the growing number of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi Group.

The Houthis vowed to target any commercial vessel linked to Isreal or going to Israel to deliver goods demanding a stop to Israel’s bombing of Gaza and delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-devastated area.

Maersk’s containerships have also been targeted in the process. Namely, the company’s containership Maersk Gibraltar was involved in a near-miss incident on December 14, followed by another attack on a container vessel on December 15. This prompted Maersk to pause all journeys for all its vessels in the area.

Subsequently, the company, following in the footsteps of its counterparts, decided to reroute its vessels around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope for safety reasons.

“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. While doing so, ensuring the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance and our number one priority in handling the challenging situation in the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden area,” Maersk said in a statement on Sunday, December 24.

“Our teams are still assessing the immediate effects of the resolution, and we kindly request your patience while we understand the impact it will have in terms of diverted vessels, surcharges, booking acceptance and further contingency measures. We will communicate the latest details of this new setup with you as soon as we have more information, which we expect to be in the coming days.”

The company added that the decision is still subject to reevaluation in line with the security situation in the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden, the priority being the safety of the company’s crews and vessels.