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The giants of shipping

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Transport containers installed on board a Maersk container ship in 2022 in California. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

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Several global shipping giants announced Friday and Saturday to suspend the passage of their ships through the Red Sea, a major trade route, after attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

The Danish Maersk, the German Hapag-Lloyd, the French CMA CGM and the Italian-Swiss MSC have announced that their ships will not ;would no longer use the Red Sea until further notice, at least until Monday or until passage is safe.

The Red Sea is a sea highway linking the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and therefore Europe to Asia, on which some 20,000 ships travel each year.

In recent weeks, Yemeni rebels, close to Iran, have increased attacks near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from #x27;Africa.

The Houthis said they would target ships sailing off the coast of Yemen with ties to Israel, in response to the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Several missiles and drones were shot down by US and French warships patrolling the area.

UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps announced on Saturday that the British destroyer HMS Diamond had destroyed an alleged attack drone targeting merchant shipping in the Red Sea during the night from Friday to Saturday.

An MSC container ship, the MSC Palatium III, was hit by a ballistic missile on Friday, according to the US Middle East Command (CENTCOM).

The MSC group clarified on Saturday that no crew members had been injured and explained that the ship had suffered limited damage due to fire.

The global shipping leader adds that due to this incident and to protect the lives and safety of our sailors, until passage through the Red Sea is safe, MSC ships will not transit not through the Suez Canal, the entry and exit point for ships passing through the Red Sea.

Already , some services will be rerouted to pass through the Cape of Good Hope, in the very south of Africa, mentions MSC.

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This bypass of Africa will considerably lengthen the journeys: to connect Rotterdam to Singapore, the detour lengthens the journey by 40%, the journey going from approximately 8,400 nautical miles (15,550 km) to 11,720 miles (21,700 km), according to S&P Global.

Several ships, notably from Maersk and MSC, have already taken this route in over the last few days, details the firm.

MSC asks its clients to show understanding in these serious circumstances.

On the same day, CMA CGM, France's leading maritime carrier, decided to order all CMA CGM container ships in the region that must pass through the Red Sea to move to safe areas or not to leave the waters. deemed safe, with immediate effect and until further notice, according to a press release.

The situation continues to deteriorate and safety concerns are increasing, says the French shipowner to justify its decision.

In a press release, The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) calls on states with influence in the region to urgently work to put an end to the actions of the Houthis in attacking sailors and merchant ships, and to defuse what now poses an extremely serious threat to international trade.

According to the London-based ICS, 12% of global trade normally passes through the Red Sea.

The organization adds that avoiding the Red Sea involves additional costs and delays which penalize the sector and the market.

In addition, according to S&P, more and more carriers are now demanding additional risk premiums for these journeys. p>

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