Two of the world's largest container ship operators expanded diversion operations from the Red Sea after a weekend ship attack blamed on renewed oil price volatility.
On Sunday, Maersk suspended sailings near or through the Suez Canal after Houthi militants targeted one of its supertankers, Maersk Hangzhou, the latest in a series of attacks on cargo ships since November.
American military helicopters sank three boatsAs a result, 10 militants were killed, after receiving a distress call in the early hours of New Year’s Eve.
The response was part of a pledge last month involving several naval powers, including Britain, to protect international shipping in the region after rebels in Yemen said they would target any ships believed to be serving Israel.
The Iran-backed Houthis are also allied with Hamas, the group that attacked Israel in early October, sparking a crisis. war Which threatens to escalate on a larger scale in the region.
“The investigation into the incident is ongoing and we will continue to temporarily halt all cargo movement through the region while we assess the continually evolving situation,” Maersk said in a statement.
“In cases where it makes more sense for our customers, ships will be redirected and continue their journey around the Cape of Good Hope.”
Maersk is understood to have more than 30 container ships ready to sail via Suez via the Red Sea.
Its decision followed a similar move by rival Hapag-Lloyd.
The German company said earlier on Tuesday that it would continue to divert its ships away from the Suez Canal and send them through the Cape of Good Hope until at least January 9.
The world's fifth-largest container company said it would then decide whether to continue the diversion.
It's been in place ever since One of its ships was targeted off the coast of Yemen On December 15th.
The Suez Canal accounts for nearly a third of the world's container ship trips.
Continuous diversions add up to two weeks to lanes from Asia due to the need to sail around Africa.
The disruption so far has led to increased insurance costs and freight charges due to higher fuel and crew costs, costs that are expected to trickle down the supply chain in the coming weeks and months.
The attack on the Maersk ship was reflected when financial markets opened their doors for the first time after the New Year holiday.
Brent crude was trading up 2% at $78 (£62) per barrel at one stage.
Read more from Sky News:
First-time buyers 'fall to lowest level in a decade'
Aldi and Lidl report record Christmas sales
Market analysts said that the possibility of a broader disruption to Middle East supplies was strongly present in the minds of traders.
“The price of oil may be affected by the escalation… in the Red Sea over the weekend and the peak demand season during the Spring Festival in China,” said Leon Li, an analyst at Shanghai-based CMC Markets, referring to the early Lunar New Year holiday. . February.
However, oil prices stabilized later in the day that US markets opened as investor expectations for interest rate cuts this year declined, capping oil price gains.
The rise in the dollar also affected prices.