Shipping giants suspend all journeys through Red Sea following attacks on vessels

james benny
2 min readDec 18, 2023

It comes following a string of missile and drone attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The group has vowed to target ships in an attempt to pressure Israel to stop bombing the Gaza Strip.

Two of the world’s biggest shipping firms have suspended all journeys through the Red Sea following a surge of recent attacks on vessels.

Danish giant Maersk said it would “pause” all container shipments until further notice after a near-miss involving its Maersk Gibraltar ship on Thursday.

Meanwhile, German firm Hapag-Lloyd said it was also halting sailings until at least Monday after one of its ships was targeted on Friday. A spokesperson added: “Then we will decide for the period thereafter.”

It comes following a string of attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Bab al Mandeb Strait, at the southern end of the Red Sea.

The group has vowed to target vessels which it believes are heading to and from Israel, in an attempt to put pressure on the country to stop bombing the Gaza Strip amid its war with Hamas.

The attacks have raised fears that global supply chains could be severely disrupted if they continue.

The narrow, busy waterway is a key maritime trade route for ships heading to and from the Suez Canal.

At least two cargo ships were hit in the area on Friday, with the Houthis again claiming responsibility.

The MSC Palatium III was struck by a missile, with officials saying it was unclear if anyone had been hurt.

Earlier in the day, a ship operated by Hapag-Lloyd, the Al Jasrah, was hit by an unidentified projectile.

The strike reportedly started a fire on board and caused one container to fall off into the sea.

A spokesperson for the company said no members of the crew had been hurt.