Maersk Ship Attacked Off Yemen As Danish Liner Giant Orders Tankers To Avoid Red Sea

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis are determined to disrupt all international shipping through the Red Sea as retaliation for Israel’s Gaza operation and the West’s support of Israel. After a string of incidents, including further Houthi militant attempts to hijack shipping vessels, the British Maritime Trade Authority says it has received a report that a ship in the Red Sea witnessed an explosion off the coast of Yemen. Soon after, the Pentagon said a missile was fired from Yemen on a nearby container ship. 

“A missile fired from territory controlled by the Houthis in Yemen missed a container ship traveling through the crucial Bab al-Mandeb Strait on Thursday, a US defense official said, the latest attack threatening shipping in the crucial maritime chokepoint,” as cited in the Associated Press.

Via Sky News/Maersk

“The attack saw the missile splash harmlessly in the water near the Maersk Gibraltar, a Hong Kong-flagged container ship that had been traveling from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the official said,” the source indicated.

This appears directly connected to that prior alert issued by the UK Maritime Trade Operations. But what’s become clear is this alarming new situation where Yemeni militants are taking pot shots at foreign vessels off the coast, in addition to sending sporadic missiles and drones toward Israel.

Bloomberg has also in breaking reporting confirmed there was an attempted attack on a Maersk container ship. Maersk says that one of its vessels came under attack, but the crew and vessel are reported safe.

There have been unconfirmed claims from Mideast sources that the ship may have been hijacked, or there was an attempted hijacking, but Maersk’s statement appears to have dispelled these rumors. “At this time, we are still working to establish the facts of the incident,” the Danish liner giant said.

“The current situation puts seafarer lives at risk and is unsustainable for global trade,” the statement continued. “As it cannot be solved by the global shipping industry on its own, we call on political action to ensure a swift de-escalation.”

ShippingWatch has also said the ship was targeted by missile attack from Yemen, but the projectile missed. At this point there’s been about a dozen similar incidents, including the prior hijacking of an Israeli-linked ship.

There’s been talk among US allies of forming a major naval coalition to monitor and patrol regional waters. This after complaints recently emerged from the Pentagon saying that Biden had ‘handcuffed’ the generals and admirals, and that the White House is unwilling and not ready to respond.

Importantly, Maersk now says its tankers will avoid the Red Sea altogether. This directive has reportedly already been sent out. As of late last month, the Maersk exodus had begun:

Ships with links to Israel are diverting in greater numbers from the Red and Arabian Seas following a series of attacks over the past 11 days by Houthis, Iranians and Somalis.

Danish liner giant Maersk became the latest big name to announce that a pair of its ships on charter – Lisa and Maersk Pagani – will be diverted with cargoes discharged in the United Arab Emirates resulting in delays of more than a week.

“This decision has been made with careful consideration of various factors, prioritizing the safety of crew, the vessel, and your cargo,” Maersk stated in an advisory to clients.

Iran is meanwhile warning against a Western naval coalition in the Red Sea. But already US and other warships have increased their presence in regional waters, with the US Navy especially directly engaging Houthi projectiles. The incidents are becoming more frequent, already with at least three significant hostile encounters this week.



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