The shipping giant Maersk has approved carriers to resume transit through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Maersk cited the stand up of the American-led task force Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) in the region as the primary reason for accepting risk of Houthi targeting. The company suspended operations through the region on December 16th, 2023. The announcement reads below:
”The recent security situation around the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden has seen Maersk and other carriers pause, adjust and divert services away from the area in the interest of safety. Our utmost priority has been and always will be the safety of our seafarers as well as your cargo on our vessels, and all contingency measures have been introduced with these in mind.
As of Sunday 24 December 2023, we have received confirmation that the previously announced multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) has now been set up and deployed to allow maritime commerce to pass through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway between Asia and Europe. This is most welcome news for the entire industry and indeed the functionality of global trade.
With the OPG initiative in operation, we are preparing to allow for vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound. We are currently working on plans for the first vessels to make the transit and for this to happen as soon as operationally possible. While doing so, ensuring the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance and our number one priority in handling the challenging situation in the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden area.
Our teams are still assessing the immediate effects of the resolution, and we kindly request your patience while we understand the impact it will have in terms of diverted vessels, surcharges, booking acceptance and further contingency measures. We will communicate the latest details of this new setup with you as soon as we have more information, which we expect to be in the coming days.
Please also note that although security measures are in place to enable the transit of the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden for our vessels, the overall risk in the area is not eliminated at this stage. Maersk will not hesitate to re-evaluate the situation and once again initiate diversion plans if we deem it necessary for the safety of our seafarers.“
Now U.S. resolve will be tested to ensuring freedom of the seas as neither the Peoples Republic of China nor the Russian Federation have taken a leadership position to protect the worlds shipping lanes, despite both countries having naval presence in the area. This trust in the American Navy once again demonstrates how the U.S. has held the mantle of global leadership.