Western Shipping Companies Are Freaked Out About Returning to the Red Sea

On December 27, 2023, the German international shipping and container transportation company Hapag-Lloyd AG said that it will continue to stay away from the Red Sea out of fear of Houthi attacks against their vessels. 

Since Israel launched its punitive military campaign against Gaza, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have launched attack vessels connected to Israel to express solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

This decision came on the heels of Operation Prosperity Guardian, which involved an American-led task force trying to re-open up the Red Sea for global commerce. 

 On December 26, Yemeni armed forces spokesman Yahya Saree announced an attack launched against a ship belonging to MSC UNITED. He noted that the vessel was targeted after the crew refused to comply with warnings.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces Air Force also carried out a military operation with several drones against military targets in the Umm al-Rashrash (Eilat) area and other areas in occupied Palestine,” the statement concluded.  

These attacks in the Red Sea have brought about supply chain disruptions and imposed additional costs for nations of the Collective West. 

The multinational coalition to open up the Red Sea is apparently facing a significant amount of instability as several US allies have  opposed requests to join the alliance.  

By contrast, non-Western shipping companies have witnessed a surge in the Red Sea shipping rate since the Yemeni attacks kicked off.

“[Ansarallah] has been tremendously precise in not hitting non-western oil tankers,” Viktor Katona, an analyst at commodities data firm Kpler, recently said to Middle East Eye reporters. “There are a lot of Saudi, Iraqi, and Russian tankers in the Red Sea, and [Ansarallah] haven’t hit a single one.”

These attacks are no coincidence. They’re the product of the US blindly supporting Israel’s punitive campaign in Gaza. After all, many non-Western nations who have remained neutral or have been outright hostile to Israel’s activities in Gaza have not seen their vessels attacked by the Houthis. 

If the US wants Western commerce to recommence in the Red Sea, it needs to stop supporting Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza.

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