TotalEnergies becomes latest to stop sending ships via Red Sea
French oil major is one of many to divert maritime traffic away from southern strait due to Houthi attacks
Paris — TotalEnergies has not sent ships through the southern strait leading to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal for several weeks, extending its ships’ travel time to Europe, the French oil major said on Wednesday.
The Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the southern end of the Red Sea has been disrupted by Houthi attacks on commercial vessels, driving up freight costs and restricting traffic.
CEO Patrick Pouyanne said that the costs of going through the Red Sea went up due partly to higher insurance costs.
“The conflict between the Houthis and the US-led coalition is having a significant impact on the region. So we’re careful and are no longer crossing the Red Sea,” said Pouyanne.
The Houthis have targeted commercial vessels with drones and missiles in the Red Sea since mid-November, disrupting international trade traffic and forcing some ships to reroute around the southern tip of Africa.
“It’s four days to make the full trip compared with going through the Red Sea for an LNG carrier,” said Pouyanne.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday that delays in oil product deliveries due to ships being diverted to avoid attacks in the Red Sea affected product markets in Europe in particular.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines CEO Takeshi Hashimoto said the company has rerouted all of its ships via the Cape of Good Hope due to the Houthi attacks.
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