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Mega Container-ship CMA CGM Louis Bleriot

A fisherman travels on a boat in front of the containership CMA CGM Louis Bleriot passing through the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt. Picture taken July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Houthis Take Aim At French Shipping Giant CMA CGM

Total Views: 19014
January 3, 2024

By Mohammed Hatem, Tara Patel and Kateryna Kadabashy (Bloomberg) –

Houthi militants claimed to have attacked another merchant ship in the Red Sea, serving as a reminder of the threat they pose to a vital trade artery.

The Houthis’ armed forces’ spokesman said in a televised speech that a vessel called the CMA CGM Tage was attacked after ignoring warnings. In response, French container shipping giant CMA CGM SA said “the vessel did not suffer any incident” and was sailing through the Red Sea toward Alexandria, at the northern end of Egypt’s Suez Canal.

Numerous container shipping lines have elected to avoid the Red Sea following a wave of attacks, instead sailing their fleets thousands of miles around Africa. The Houthis say they are going after any vessels that have a connection with Israel, although those purported links have looked increasingly spurious.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British naval detachment, said on its website that a vessel came under attack around the time the CMA CGM Tage would have been passing through. It didn’t name the carrier. It said there were reports of up to three explosions 1 to 5 nautical miles from a merchant carrier. 

The US and its allies are trying to secure merchant shipping in an area that handles about 12% of global trade. But this week A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S said it would avoid the area until further notice after a second one of its vessels came under attack in the space of a few weeks.

The US Central Command said on X that “Iranian-backed Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen into the Southern Red Sea.” 

Also Read: Operation Prosperity Guardian: Whose Prosperity is Being Guarded? by Sal Mercogliano

It added that multiple commercial ships in the area reported the impact of the ASBMs in the surrounding water, though none reported any damage.

This is the 24th attack against merchant shipping in the southern Red Sea since Nov. 19, according to the US Central Command.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P

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