Oil prices rise amid fears of escalating tension in the Middle East

The French “CMAC CGM” announced that some of its ships have returned to crossing the Red Sea, while the Danish “Maersk” intends to do the same, according to what the two shipping companies announced on Wednesday, after suspending this due to the Houthi attacks in Yemen against the backdrop of the war in Gaza.

The French company said that “some ships have crossed the Red Sea,” and that it intends “to gradually increase the transit of our ships through the Suez Canal,” in a message to its customers, a copy of which was received by Agence France-Presse.

For its part, Maersk confirmed that it intends to “resume navigation in the Red Sea in the east as well as the west direction,” noting that ships will resume using this sea lane “as soon as possible.”

Major international transport companies, including Maersk and CMA CGM, announced, as of mid-December, the suspension of traffic through the Red Sea after operations launched by the Houthis in Yemen targeting ships they said were linked to Israel or sailing to and from its ports.

The Yemeni Houthis confirmed that their operations come in “support of Gaza” in light of the war that has been raging since October 7 between Israel and Hamas, stressing that it will continue unless food and medicine are allowed to enter the besieged Strip.

These attacks prompted the United States to form an international coalition that includes more than 20 countries to protect navigation in the Red Sea.

Maersk considered that the formation of this alliance is “good news for the entire sector” of maritime transport, allowing the resumption of navigation traffic, but it stressed that “the overall danger in this region has not yet been eliminated.”

In turn, the French company confirmed that it is “permanently monitoring the situation and we remain ready to re-evaluate our plans if necessary.”

The US Army announced on Tuesday that it shot down more than 10 attack drones and missiles launched by the Houthis from Yemen towards cargo ships in the Red Sea, without causing injuries or damage.

In turn, the Houthis stressed on Tuesday “the continued support and assistance of the Palestinian people,” renewing their position “regarding preventing the passage of all Israeli ships.”

The Red Sea, linking the Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, is an essential corridor for international navigation, and approximately 20,000 commercial ships pass through it annually.

Avoiding passage through the Red Sea imposes additional costs and shipping time on transport companies, as their ships are forced to circle the continent of Africa to move from Asia to Europe, instead of crossing the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to reach the Mediterranean.

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