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Global Commerce Threatened by Intensified Assaults on Red Sea Vessels

  • Houthi rebels have increased attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, targeting those connected to Israel, leading to widespread disruptions in maritime trade.
  • The United States has initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect shipping routes and ensure uninterrupted trade, while major companies like BP and Maersk have temporarily suspended operations in the region.
  • These attacks have led to longer journey times, higher fuel consumption, and increased shipping costs, potentially necessitating larger fleets to maintain global trade flow.

Via Metal Miner

The recent surge in assaults on vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels significantly impacted global commerce and maritime pathways. These intensified attacks continue to disrupt one of the busiest trade corridors on the planet, leading to longer voyage time, increased fuel consumption, and a potential need for larger fleets. Moreover, the resulting disruptions and delays in order delivery have ultimately raised shipping expenses.

The Houthi rebels, with support from Iran in Yemen, have primarily targeted ships connected to Israel. The rebels stated their attacks were a form of protest against Israel’s military operations in Gaza. Although the Houthis lack the maritime capabilities to block off the Red Sea completely, their actions have significantly affected the shipping sector and greatly reduced traffic along the Red Sea route. Consequently, some prominent shipping firms are redirecting their container vessels away from the entire region.

Houthi Rebels Attempting to Harm Israel

The Houthi rebels, officially known as Ansar Allah, constitute a Shia Islamist group with both political and military branches. They originated in Yemen’s Saada Governorate and initially claimed to advocate peaceful theological beliefs. However, they gradually evolved into a significant participant in the Yemeni conflict. The Houthi rebels adhere to the Zaydi form of Shiism and are part of a substantial clan originating from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province. They have actively engaged in a series of violent uprisings against the Yemeni government, which people commonly refer to as the “Houthi Wars.” Additionally, many claim the rebels receive support from Iran.

Houthi insurgents have been consistently launching assaults on vessels navigating the Red Sea since 2014. As the Red Sea represents a crucial global trade route, these actions frequently disrupt the smooth transportation of vital commodities such as oil, grains, and consumer goods. Global intelligence officers linked the recent incidents to the Houthi rebels’ support for the Palestinians and their intention to inflict harm upon Israel.

The United States Steps In

In response to these attacks, the U.S. launched Operation Prosperity Guardian with the goal of protecting the Red Sea maritime routes from Houthi hostilities. This initiative aims to deter future attacks and ensure uninterrupted trade passage in the area. Moreover, several prominent corporations, including BP and Maersk, have temporarily suspended their shipping operations in the Red Sea due to the heightened risk of attacks from the Houthi rebels in the area.

Although the Red Sea hasn’t been completely blocked, these occurrences continue to exert a substantial impact on global trade and the shipping industry as a whole. If the situation persists, it will only increase the possibility of further escalation and economic repercussions.

By Jennifer Kary

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 22 2023 said:
    The Houthis attacks on shipping connected to Israel will have wider implications to the global economy in terms of disrupting international trade, raising costs of commodities and insurance with the possibility of shortages.

    They also have the possibility of disruption of oil and gas shipments accounting for 12 and 8 percentage of global shipments respectively passing through the straight of Hormuz.

    Israel’s foreign trade is being very adversely affected with the Israeli port of Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba virtually deserted.

    It would have been far more effective if the United States exerted pressure on Israel to accept a ceasefire instead of forming an impotent naval force to protect shipping since shipping companies are already avoiding the Red Sea..

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert
  • William Oil Investor on December 22 2023 said:
    I am eager to see how market manipulation is able to withstand the increase in cost and travel time of shipping. Thus far, nothing seems to have phased the price dropping of oil, or the rise in the US stock markets; wars, loss of banks, interest rates, inflation, etc. All kinds of volatility on speculation, but soon as real world events happen, stability and good times!

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