18 Major Shipping Lines Re-route Vessels around South Africa
At least 18 international shipping companies have already decided to re-route their vessels around South Africa, adding 10 days to the journey, negatively affecting trade and increasing freight rates.
IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez has strongly condemned attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area, while reiterating the commitment of IMO to protect seafarers, ships and cargoes to ensure the safety and security of global supply chains.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council during its first open meeting on the continuing attacks against commercial shipping in the area, Mr. Dominguez underscored that ships must be allowed to trade worldwide unhindered and in accordance with international law.
He highlighted the importance of this vital shipping lane, which records around 15% of international shipping trade.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the call for de-escalation to ensure safety of our seafarers, freedom of navigation and stability of supply chains,” he said.
Since the beginning of November 2023, a number of attacks have been launched against commercial vessels in the Red Sea area. While initial target ships were linked to Israel, this is no longer the case.
IMO continues to closely monitor the situation, in collaboration with Member States, partners from the industry and navies.
Mr. Dominguez commended the work of the members of the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC), which held an Extraordinary Meeting on 18 December to discuss how to deal with increasing threats against international shipping in the Red Sea Area.
He encouraged Member States to use it as a forum to ensure communication among all countries in the region.
In addition, IMO has an EU-funded regional programme for maritime security in the Red Sea area, which aims to develop capacity in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Under this initiative, IMO, INTERPOL, UNODC, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), continue to coordinate actions to promote adequate security and safety standards for maritime, port and land-based law-enforcement authorities across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
As a practical measure, Mr. Dominguez encouraged ships to continue sending initial reports when clearing Suez or when crossing boundaries in the Indian Ocean, which is covered under the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation Centre and other relevant centres in the region.