Shipping companies modify their routes, choosing the longest route through South Africa.
At least 18 shipping companies have decided to reroute their merchant ships through South Africa to avoid passing through the Red Sea, the scene of attacks on cargo ships carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Arsenio Domínguez, offered that figure in a speech before the UN Security Council, where he reiterated his condemnation of the harassment against global trade.
“A significant number of shipping companies, about 18, have already decided to reroute their ships around South Africa to reduce attacks on ships and (limit) the impact this has on seafarers,” Dominguez said.
The longest path
This means that freighters will add 10 days on average to their trips, in addition to “a negative impact on trade and an increase in freight costs,” according to the Panamanian official.
Domínguez recalled that since November attacks against international vessels on this vital route, through which around 15% of global trade transits, have intensified.
“The initial target was ships linked to Israel, but from the information we have received in recent events that no longer appears to be the case,” Domínguez said.
The IMO is monitoring the situation and is in contact with industry representatives and shipping companies. Domínguez asked merchant ships to send their reports on the situation to commercial control centers when they leave the Suez Canal or the Indian Ocean to enter the Red Sea.