Posted on January 15, 2024
The Dutch dredging and maritime services company Boskalis has decided to avoid the Red Sea due to attacks by Houthi rebels on shipping, according to CEO Peter Berdowski. He mentioned a “standing order” to avoid the Red Sea.
In recent weeks, Boskalis ships originally scheduled to transit through the Suez Canal were rerouted via Africa, Berdowski added. This redirection included three large transport vessels and a towing vessel. Therefore, no other Boskalis vessels will traverse the Red Sea in the foreseeable future. Berdowski emphasized the company’s heightened focus on developments in the region due to safety concerns.
Other major maritime companies, such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, have also chosen to bypass the Red Sea. Houthi rebels from Yemen have periodically targeted cargo ships with drones and rockets in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip during the conflict with Hamas.
The situation in the Red Sea region has further escalated recently, with the United States and the United Kingdom conducting airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen overnight on Thursday. The Netherlands provided support for these strikes. The Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, have vowed to retaliate forcefully.
Berdowski noted that the ships originally scheduled to use the Suez Canal were already equipped with barbed wire and armed security. However, he emphasized that such measures do not offer protection against rocket and drone attacks.
Furthermore, Berdowski mentioned that Boskalis was involved in emptying an aging oil tanker in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen last year. This operation required constant coordination with the Houthi rebels, who monitored the situation using boats.