Red Sea Situation – Daily Bulletin

Welcome to the Inchcape Red Sea Situation daily bulletin relating to the situation in the Red Sea and Suez Canal for Friday, 12th January. On Friday, 26th January, Inchcape Shipping Services, in partnership with Ambrey Risk Management, will deliver a webinar highlighting all current threats and risks around the world. A link to the Webinar will be published next week.

As is well reported, the US Central Command forces conducted strike operations last night – “On Jan. 11 at 2:30 a.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces, in coordination with the United Kingdom and support from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain, conducted joint strikes on Houthi targets to degrade their capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks on U.S. and international vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea. This multinational action targeted radar systems, air defence systems, and storage and launch sites for one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. Since Oct. 17, 2023, Iranian-backed Houthi militants have attempted to attack and harass 27 ships in international shipping lanes. These illegal incidents include attacks that have employed anti-ship ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. These strikes have no association with and are separate from Operation Prosperity Guardian, a defensive coalition of over 20 countries operating in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. “We hold the Houthi militants and their destabilizing Iranian sponsors responsible for the illegal, indiscriminate, and reckless attacks on international shipping that have impacted 55 nations so far, including endangering the lives of hundreds of mariners, including the United States,” said General Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM Commander. “Their illegal and dangerous actions will not be tolerated, and they will be held accountable.”

Again widely reported was the incident regarding the St Nikolas. Ambrey received information of an incident 50M east of Sohar, Oman. A Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker was boarded by 4-5 armed persons approximately 50M east of Sohar, Oman. The tanker was moving at a speed of 11.4kts and continued to move at that speed in a steady direction an hour into the reported time of boarding. Following that time, the tanker changed direction to port and increased speed to 12.9kts. At the time of writing, the tanker’s AIS was turned off, and the tanker was headed in the direction of Bandar-e-Jask, Iran. The armed suspects are reportedly wearing ‘military-style black uniforms with black masks.’ Ambrey noted that in the past, the tanker was prosecuted for carrying sanctioned Iranian oil, which was confiscated by the US and fined. It was assessed that Iran had previously taken action against those it had accused of cooperating with the US. The tanker was renamed recently.

At 3 pm UTC today, Ambrey reported an incident approximately 90M southeast of Aden, Yemen. Ambrey corroborated that a Panama-flagged tanker sighted three skiffs while transiting the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) eastbound, approximately 87.5M southeast of Aden. The vessel was heard stating the same on VHF Channel 16. Ambrey assessed that a non-Ambrey Private Armed Security Team was aboard at the time. The tanker was en route from Ust-Luga, Russia, to Vadinar, India, and had an estimated 8.1m freeboard. The vessel’s group owner was unknown at the time; however, the last confirmed group owner was a UK-based company. Ownership changed in August 2023. Based on the currently available evidence, Ambrey classified this incident as a Situational awareness–sighting.

Suez Canal Transits

Today, we saw the lowest total for Suez Transits at 29, of which just 13 were in the Southbound Convoy. That is volumes typical of Panama rather than Suez, and just 30% of 12th December.

Suez Transits 12

There is significantly less traffic visible in the Red Sea (Source: World of Ports), and traffic transiting the Cape of Good Hope has significantly increased.


Cape of Good Hope

At Durban, South Africa there are already 40 vessels at berth and through World of Ports we can see at least 38 vessels expected to arrive in the next 14 days. Average Turn around for Containers is 116 hours, 75 hours for Tankers and 36 hours for Bulk Carriers.

Durban 1
Port of Durban, South Africa

Port Louis, Mauritius is much less congested with only 9 vessels in 27 berths, but 34 vessels are enroute and expected ETA in the next 14 days.

Port Louis 1
Port Louis, Mauritius

How can Inchcape Shipping Services help?

Inchcape Shipping Services is well established in Africa when considering to divert around the Cape of Good Hope. With 14 port offices and a network of carefully selected and vetted partners, our team of experienced agents offer top-notch support and expertise to vessels when they are in port, covering everything from crew welfare and customs formalities to fuel supply and waste management.

We provide:

  • 24/7 availability with a local Inchcape representative.
  • Direct liaison with the vessel on all aspects of the call when required.
  • Critical local expertise and liaison with managing local authorities.
  • Assist with crew logistics, including transport to and from the airport, accommodation, and medical assistance.
  • Coordination and facilitation of bunker supplies, supervision and sampling.

Our team are ready to support you in Africa and Mauritius. Please contact us for a prompt PDA on these email addresses:

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