Maersk to divert all ships away from Red Sea

Denmark-based shipping line Maersk has decided to divert south, around the Cape of Good Hope, all of its vessels that were due to transit the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. It said that the diversions would be in operation “for the foreseeable future”

Maersk said on Friday January 5th that the situation in the Red Sea remained “highly volatile”. It noted that all the available intelligence confirmed that the security risk continued to be high.

On January 2nd Maersk had paused all transits while it considered the situation. It had been the first and only major to announced that it would be resuming Red Sea transits as a result of the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) in the region. However, the Houthis seem to have taken no notice. It attacked the Maersk Hangzhou, first by missile and drone and then in an attempted boarding, within a couple of days of the US announcement re OPG. Then on Friday it launched another attack.

That response by the Houthis looked to have been a final factor in leading Maersk to announce its latest plan.

The company had decided to pause all vessels bound for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden on January 2nd, in light of the recent incident involving Maersk Hangzhou and ongoing developments in the area with Yemen’s Houthi militants’ attacks.

Maersk said that its decision to divert was intended to bring its customers “more consistency and predictability despite the associated delays that come with the re-routing. While we continue to hope for a sustainable resolution in the near-future and do all we can to contribute towards it, we do encourage customers to prepare for complications in the area to persist and for there to be significant disruption to the global network”.

Maersk was reported to have instructed four container ships to sail back through the Suez Canal rather than continue south in the Red Sea. They will then take the long route through the Mediterranean, south along the west of Africa and then east to Asia.

Affected were container ship Maersk Genoa (IMO 9739680), container ship Maersk Londrina (IMO 9527037), container ship Ebba Maersk (IMO 9321524) and container ship Gjertrud Maersk (IMO 9320233), which for the previous few days had been idling south of the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah in the Red Sea, awaiting developments. They will be rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope, according to Maersk’s schedule. A fifth container ship, the Maersk Utah (IMO 9305300), which was also in the area, had not yet been diverted, but it will not go past Yemen, according to the company.

2016-built, Hong Kong-flagged, 113,042 gt Maersk Genoa I is owned by FPG Shipholding Panama 28 SA care of Seaspan Ship Management Ltd of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of FPG Shipholding Panama 28 SA. Gard is claims leader for hull on behalf of Seaspan Ship Management Ltd. As of January 6th the vessel was in the Suez Canal, having left Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on December 29th.

2012-built, Denmark-flagged, 90,107 gt Maersk Londrina is owned and managed by Maersk AS of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Copenhagen) on behalf of Maersk AS. As of January 6th it was in the Suez Canal, having left Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 1st.

2007-built, Denmark-flagged, 171,542 gt Ebba Maersk is owned and managed by Maersk AS of Denmark, Copenhagen. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Maersk AS. As of January 6th it was heading north to the Suez Canal, expected to arrive later that day. It left Tangier, Morocco, on December 25th.

2005-built, Denmark-flagged, 98,648 gt Gjertrud Maersk is owned and managed by Maersk AS of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Maersk AS. As of January 6th it was in the Red Sea, still listed as heading for Tanhung Pelapas, Malaysia, ETA January 9th, having left Freeport, Bahamas, on December 5th.

2006-built, Singapore-flagged, 50,686 gt Maersk Utah is owned by Moler Singapore AP Pte Ltd of Singapore. It is manager by Maersk AS of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Copenhagen) on behalf of AP Moller-Maersk AS. As of January 2nd it had been in the Red Sea, displaying as its destination: “Armed Guards Onboard”.