Mounting attacks by the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi militant group on ships in the Red Sea are disrupting maritime trade as leading global freight firms reroute around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Suez Canal.
Multiple “projectiles” were fired from Houthi-controlled territory on Monday at a vessel in the southern Red Sea, US officials said.
The Houthi movement has launched a series of missile and drone attacks on ships in the area, which it says are a response to Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip.
Several major freight companies — including MSC and Maersk — have begun to sail around Africa, adding costs and delays that are expected to be compounded over the coming weeks, according to industry analysts. About 15% of world shipping traffic transits via the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Combined, the companies that have diverted vessels “control around half of the global container shipping market,” ABN Amro analyst Albert Jan Swart told Reuters. “Avoiding the Red Sea will lead to higher cost due to longer travel time,” Swart said.
Oil major BP has also temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea following the attacks over the weekend.