Red Sea Chaos: Maersk Ship Hit By Missile; US Attack Helicopters Annihilate Houthi Rebel Boats

Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, suspended all container ship sailings in the Southern Red Sea after Iranian-backed Houthi militants attacked one of its vessels. This comes a day after the shipper reportedly attempted to restart sails in the critical waterway under the US' Operational Prosperity Guardian security umbrella. 

US Central Command wrote in a post on X that the Maersk Hangzhou container ship was struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea. The vessel requested assistance from the US military, to which two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Laboon (DDG 58), responded.

"While responding, the USS GRAVELY shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships," CENTCOM said, adding this is the 23rd "illegal attack" by Houthi rebels on commercial vessels on the critical waterway since Nov. 19. 

In a separate X post, CENTCOM described the attack more in-depth, indicating Houthi rebels were on four small boats, attempting to board Maersk Hangzhou. Fortunately, the vessel had a private security team, which repelled the rebels. 

CENTCOM said attack helicopters from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Gravely quickly responded to the distress call. Houthi militants from the small boats fired on the helicopters, and in self-dense, the helicopters unleashed a barrage of firepower, killing the crew of the three boats. A fourth boat evaded the area. 

According to Bloomberg data, Maersk Hangzhou's last known position was on Friday, in the Gulf of Aden, before the Bab al-Mandab Strait. 

Maersk was reportedly restarting sails through the critical waterway that connects to the Suez Canal, which handles about 12% of global trade and is a major maritime route between Asia and Europe. We're sure other major shipping companies will rethink their restart plans for the highly contested waterway. 

As of Sunday morning, only a handful of container ships with destinations to Asia, Europe, and North America are transiting the Red Sea. Vessels are being rerouted to the Cape of Good Hope. 

UBS analysts have said more than 400 cargo ships have been rerouted on the 6,000-nautical-mile detour, effectively reducing the capacity of Asia-to-Europe trade by a quarter. This drives up shipping costs at a time when global central banks have aggressively raised interest rates to curb inflation.

So much for the hope that Operational Prosperity Guardian would unfreeze the Red Sea.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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