The deteriorating security situation in the Middle East Gulf and Red Sea region is beginning to hit container supply chains after Maersk Line today announced that it had withdrawn two vessels from operating in the region. It follows news from Israeli shipping line Zim yesterday that it too is taking “temporary proactive measures”.
Although it declined to specify the nature of any threat the company may have received, Maersk said “due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, we have been forced to temporarily divert” two vessels – the 4,250 teu Lisa and the 5,300 teu Maersk Pangani, both of which are owned by Israeli shipowner XT Shipping.
“This decision has been made with careful consideration of various factors, prioritizing the safety of crew, the vessel, and your cargo. While we strive for seamless operations, these circumstances have necessitated this deviation from our usual route.
“Regrettably, the temporary route diversion is anticipated to result in a delay exceeding one week from the initial delivery schedule,” a customer advisory said.
The Lisa, which was deployed on Maersk’s standalone Mawingu service between the Indian subcontinent and East Africa, will now divert to Salalah where it will discharge all cargo before heading to the Far East for redeployment.
The Maersk Pangani, which has been deployed on the India-West Africa Mesawa service that Maersk operates in conjunction with CMA CGM, via transhipment calls in the Middle East, will skip its original destination of Salalah and sail directly to the Indian port of Mundra, where Gulf-destined cargo will be unloaded and transferred to the Maersk Iyo, which is currently at anchor at Mundra.
The Maersk Pangani will then sail to Nhava Sheva before steaming directly to West Africa and skipping a westbound call at Dubai.
A Zim vessel has also changed course, avoiding the Suez Canal, and passing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen.
“In light of the threat to safe transit of global trade in the Arabian and Red Seas, Zim is taking temporary proactive measures to ensure the safety of its crews, vessels, and customers’ cargo by rerouting some of its vessels,” the company said.
“As a result of these measures, longer transit times in the relevant Zim services are anticipated, though every effort is being made to minimise disruptions.”
The moves demonstrate how carriers are desperately seeking to reduce their potential exposure to terrorist action in the region, following the Houthi hijacking of Israeli-owned car carrier Galaxy Leader and the drone attack on the Pacific Eastern Shipping-owned CMA CGM Stymi.
According to ship database vesselsvalue.com, XT Shipping owns a further 10 boxships with a total fleet value of 313.88bn. Both XT Shipping and Pacific Eastern Shipping are controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
Source : The Load Star