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


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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.

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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.

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Houthis seize ‘Israel-linked’ ship in Red Sea

Houthis vow to ‘prevent all ships heading to Israeli ports’

Houthis say they will continue to threaten shipping until Israel listens to their demands.

Rebel spokesperson Brigadier Yahya Saree said: “The Yemeni armed forces confirm they will continue to prevent all ships heading to Israeli ports from navigating in the [Red Sea] until they bring in the food and medicine that our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip need.”

A spokesperson for Maersk said: “Following the near-miss incident involving Maersk Gibraltar yesterday and yet another attack on a container vessel today, we have instructed all Maersk vessels in the area bound to pass through the Bab al Mandeb Strait to pause their journey until further notice.”

Earlier this week, the Norwegian-owned MT Strinda tanker caught fire after it was also hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen.

Shipping firm Mowinckel said the vessel was carrying biofuel from Malaysia to Italy, but later disclosed it had also been “tentatively” scheduled to make a stop at the Israeli port of Ashdod.

On Wednesday the US Navy said it shot down a suspected Houthi drone which was heading towards one of its warships.

It came as the commercial vessel Ardmore Encounter was attacked by small boats and then by two missiles.

In November, the Houthis also seized a cargo ship allegedly linked to Israel in the Red Sea which they are still holding near the port city of Hodeida.

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Control of Yemen is split between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed government forces, with British military support.

The country has been locked in a devastating civil war in recent years although a tentative truce is currently in place.

Last weekend Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi called on its Western allies to do more to tackle the attacks – and warned his country would “act to remove this blockade” if the threats continued.

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Written by: radioroxi

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