Maersk says it will pause Red Sea operations indefinitely

Maersk says it will pause Red Sea operations indefinitely

A tent covers a construction site of the Danish shipping company Maersk in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 31. Maersk said Tuesday it will end Red Sea operations until further notice. File Photo by Liselotte Sabroe/EPA-EFE

A tent covers a construction site of the Danish shipping company Maersk in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 31. Maersk said Tuesday it will end Red Sea operations until further notice. File Photo by Liselotte Sabroe/EPA-EFE

Jan. 2 (UPI) — Container shipping giant Maersk said on Tuesday that its vessels will continue avoiding the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden indefinitely because of the ongoing danger posed by Houthi militant attacks from Yemen.

The company, based in Denmark, saw one of its vessels come under fire by the rebels with four small boats. A U.S. Navy warship answered a distressed call and sunk three boats while the other ended its attack and escaped.

That attack led to an initial 48-hour pause in Maersk in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden until Tuesday.

« Following the Dec. 30 incident involving our vessel, Maersk Hangzhou, we have decided to pause all transit through the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden until further notice, » a statement from Maersk said on Tuesday.

« An investigation into the incident is ongoing and we will continue to pause all cargo movement through the area while we further assess the constantly evolving situation. »

Maersk said all of its ships will be re-routed around the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, adding days to the transport of goods to their intended destinations.

Houthi rebels attacked the Maersk vessel, firing on the ship until helicopters from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and destroyer USS Gravely showed up. U.S. Central Command said no U.S. personnel were harmed in the skirmish.

The attack is an apparent ongoing effort by the Houthi rebels to disrupt commercial shipping in the region in support of Hamas in its war against Israel. The rebels, who are backed by Iran, have been in a long-running civil war against the Saudi Arabian-backed Yemeni government.

Iran sent one of its warships into the region after the Houthi attack against the Maersk ship was foiled by the United States.

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