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Maersk Ship Targeted by Missile in the Red Sea

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 15399
December 14, 2023

A.P. Moller-Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, reported that its containership Maersk Gibraltar was targeted by a missile near the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the latest attack against shipping in the region.

The attack occurred as the ship was en route from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Maersk said. Fortunately, the crew and ship were reported safe.

The U.S. has determined the missile was a ballistic missile fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

“The safety of our crew and vessel is our top priority and all possible security measures are being taken to ensure we remove them from harm’s way,” Maersk said in a statement.

The Bad al-Mandab Strait is a strategic waterway that connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden where Yemen’s Houthis have been targeting ships purportedly linked to Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“The recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Bad al-Mandab Strait are extremely concerning. The current situation puts seafarer lives at risk and is unsustainable for global trade,” Maersk said.

“As it cannot be solved by the global shipping industry on its own, we call on political action to ensure a swift de-escalation,” the company added.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it received report from a ship’s Master reporting an explosion approximately 50 meters off the vessel’s port quarter. The report followed an previous report a few hours earlier of an entity claiming to be the Yemeni Navy ordering the vessel to alter course to Yemen. UKMTO does not identify ships in its reports so it’s unclear if the report is related to the attack on the Maersk Gibraltar.

The U.S. Central Command provided a statement on the incident late Monday afternoon, reporting “a ballistic missile was fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen toward the international shipping lane north of the Bab-el-Mandeb. There were no injuries or damage. Following the missile launch, the M/V Maersk Gibraltar was hailed by the Houthis, who threatened further missile attacks…While this incident did not involve US Forces, we continue to closely monitor the situation. These attacks continue to threaten international maritime security.”

The Hong Kong-flagged Maersk Gibraltar is on long-term charter to Maersk and deployed on the ME2-service between Europe and the Middle East. It has a capacity of 10,100 twenty-foot containers (TEU).

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