Red Sea danger sees Israel-linked ships steer clear
More Israeli-linked ships, including those operated by ZIM, the world’s 10th largest liner, are diverting, avoiding new hot spots around the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa in the wake of a series of attacks.
Israel’s 52-day war with Hamas spilled out into the high seas nine days ago when a ship belonging to Ray Car Carriers, the Galaxy Leader, was hijacked by Houthi militia and taken – with its crew of 25 – to Yemen.
Since then the security situation for Israeli-linked ships has worsened. The CMA CGM Symi, a 15,264 teu boxship controlled by Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping, was hit by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean on Friday morning.
Over the weekend in the southern Red Sea the Central Park, a 20,000 dwt product tanker belonging to Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime, became the next target, this time by Somalis.
A group of Somalis are understood to have boarded the ship southwest of Aden on Sunday, by which time the crew had secured themselves in the ship’s citadel. American naval assets, led by the USS Mason warship, were swiftly deployed and the ship is now safe with five of the attackers apprehended having tried to escape on a speedboat.
The US said two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen towards the general direction of the Mason and Central Park, but they landed about 10 nautical miles away from them.
ZIM, Israel’s top container line, stated yesterday it had decided to reroute some of its ships away from the Arabian and Red Seas.
“As a result of these measures, longer transit times in the relevant ZIM services are anticipated,” ZIM conceded about a swathe of ships that will need to transit via the Cape of Good Hope. Other companies with Israeli links including Ray Car Carriers have done similar, with insurance premiums rocketing by more than 200% since the Galaxy Leader was apprehended.
Aware of the risks to its supply chains from ships diverting from its risky coastline, Israel has said it will compensate any ships that are damaged in its waters due to the ongoing war with Hamas.
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