Maersk Sails South of Africa to Avoid Red Sea Conflict Area

Houthi Militants Have Attacked Several Ships
Maersk ship
A Maersk Line containership is unloaded and refueled at the Port of LA. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

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Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S will redirect its vessels to sail south of Africa to avoid the Red Sea conflict area where Houthi militants have attacked several ships.

About 20 Maersk vessels, waiting on both sides of the Suez Canal, will now change course and sail the long way around the continent, the Copenhagen-based company said in a statement on Dec. 19.

“Out of safety reasons all vessels previously paused and due to sail through the region will now be rerouted around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope,” Maersk said. “They will continue their voyages on the diverted routes as soon as operationally feasible.”

Maersk ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 50 global freight companies list.

Maersk, which transports about 15% of the world’s containers at sea, last week paused its vessels in the area due to the attacks, which also targeted one of the Danish company’s ships. On Dec. 18, the U.S. said it has agreed with allies, including the U.K., Canada and France, to create a naval task force to counter attacks on ships in the region.

“We are pleased to see global governments reacting promptly with joint efforts,” Maersk said. “However, at this time it remains difficult to determine exactly when this will be. Meanwhile, routing vessels via the Cape of Good Hope will ultimately deliver faster and more predictable outcomes for our customers and their supply chains.”

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