BP joins firms rerouting ships due to Red Sea attacks

(LONDON) — Oil major BP has joined a growing list of companies pausing shipping through the Suez Canal following a series of attacks on vessels by Houthi militants from Yemen, as the U.S. pledged an international effort to combat the situation, CNBC reported.

“In light of the deteriorating security situation for shipping in the Red Sea, BP has decided to temporarily pause all transits through the Red Sea,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We will keep this precautionary pause under ongoing review, subject to circumstances as they evolve in the region.”

During a trip to Israel on Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the attacks were “reckless, dangerous,” and that they “violate international law.”

“So we’re taking action to create an international coalition to address this threat,” he said. “This is not just a U.S. issue, this is an international problem and it deserves an international response.”

Austin said he was convening a virtual meeting Tuesday with ministers in the region and beyond “to ensure freedom of navigation in the area.”

Norwegian energy firm Equinor told CNBC it had chosen to reroute its ships in the area but had not made a decision on future activity. Oil tanker group Frontline told Reuters it would avoid passages through the Red Sea in the near-term.

Shipping giants MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM and Maersk have also all announced suspensions of travel through the Red Sea due to the drone threat, meaning no access to the key link between Europe and Asia between the Middle East and North Africa.

MSC photo
By Professional Mariner Staff