Ships Use Red Sea, After US Warnings


Sudan Events – Sumaya Sayed

Huge numbers of merchant ships have continued to navigate the southern Red Sea since warnings by western navies to stay away from the crucial trade route to avoid attack by Houthi militants.

On Friday, the Combined Maritime Forces — encompassing both UK and US navies — advised merchant ships to stay away from the danger zone. Their advice came after both nations bombed targets in Yemen to try to quell attacks on commercial vessels by Houthi militants, prompting concern about reprisals.

Numerous vessels turned away following the advice. The number passing through the Bab el-Mandeb since Friday has fallen by more than half compared with the corresponding period a month earlier, ship-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg show.

However, 114 vessels — including oil tankers, bulk carriers and container ships — still passed into or out of the Red Sea through the narrow chokepoint, the data show.

The fact that so many have gone through is a reminder that differ-ent shipowners have different risk tolerances, and that some may assess they can get their vessels through safely.

While the number of shipments are sharply down, the number transporting oil from Russia has dropped by significantly less. Many vessels have also advertised connections to China in the hope of sailing through safely. Others also pointed out that they weren’t involved in trade with Israel.

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