Egypt’s Suez canal authority monitoring tensions in Red Sea

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Egypt’s Suez canal authority said on Sunday it was closely monitoring the impact of tensions in the Red Sea after recent attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on vessels in the southern part of the basin.

Two major freight firms including MSC, the world’s biggest container shipping line, said on Saturday they would avoid the Suez Canal as Houthi militants stepped up their assaults.

The authority is “closely following the consequences of current tensions,” the body’s chairman, Osama Rabie, said in a statement. Maritime traffic in the canal was currently normal, he added, without going into further detail.

Iran-aligned Houthis have launched attacks against vessels in the region in protest against Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza that has killed almost 19 000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

Since November 19, 55 ships have rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope, while 2 128 have crossed the canal in the same period, the Suez canal authority said.

Rabie said that on Sunday, 77 ships crossed the canal, including some ships belonging to shipping lines that had announced temporary diversions. Those were vessels that were already in the Red Sea region before the announcements were made.