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Parliament meeting in Athens Greece

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses lawmakers ahead of a parliament vote on the 2024 budget, in the Greek parliament in Athens, Greece December 17, 2023. REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

Greek Ship Owners Advised To Avoid Red Sea

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December 20, 2023

By Angeliki Koutantou  (Reuters) Greece has advised commercial vessels sailing in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to avoid Yemeni waters, keep only the necessary crew on the bridge and follow alerts issued by maritime authorities to avoid attacks in the area.

Greek ship-owners control about 20% of the world’s commercial vessels in terms of carrying capacity.

A shipping ministry advisory was issued on Saturday, as recent attacks by the Iran-aligned Houthi militant group on vessels have forced leading shipping companies to reroute via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. 

According to a document seen by Reuters, vessels should also conduct fire drills for regular checks of their safety equipment before they reach Yemeni shores, and are advised to sail through the southern Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait at night. 

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen, say the shipping attacks are a response to Israel’s military campaign in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and have said they will continue until Israel stops the offensive.

Also Read: Red Sea Shipping Chaos, By the Numbers

The attacks have started to take a toll on global trade and prompted the United States to launch a multinational operation (Operation Prosperity Guardian) to safeguard commerce in the Red Sea.

Greece is in talks with European Union and U.S. officials and stands ready to participate in any international initiative for maritime security, government officials said on Wednesday, citing Greek Shipping Minister Christos Stylianides. 

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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