Welcome to the fourth daily bulletin relating to the situation in the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Following yesterday’s reported incident on the Chem Pluto, several sources have reported UAVs and Ballistic Missiles fired into the Red Sea.
Please note there will not be a bulletin tomorrow, 25th December, with a resumption on 26th December.
Yesterday saw an increase in incidents in the region. In addition to the damage to the Chem Pluto, US Central Command reported that “two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles were fired into international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. No ships reported being impacted by the missiles”. They also said that the USS Laboon was patrolling as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian and shot down 4 unmanned aerial drones, again originating from Houthi-controlled territory, with no injuries or damage in this incident.
Ambrey (www.ambrey.com) also reported three further incidents
- A Norwegian-flagged tanker reported a “near-miss” of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), approximately 50 Miles west of Hodeidah, Yemen. It was reported that the UAV flew low above a vessel before it exploded 1.5M away from it. There was no damage reported, and the crew were not injured.
- Merchant vessels had reported sighting an aerial projectile 38M offshore Iddi, Eritrea. Vessels in the vicinity reported observing a ‘missile fired over’ a Gabon-flagged crude oil tanker and that there was an ‘attack with a missile.’ This was corroborated by Ambrey, who observed the tanker perform possible evasive manoeuvres. At the time of writing, the tanker had resumed her course towards the Bab al Mandab. UPDATE 01 (Correction): Ambrey understands that the Houthis denied responsibility for the missile fired toward the Gabon-flagged tanker and blamed a warship. Ambrey has assessed it as highly likely the Houthis were responsible for the missile/projectile. Ambrey has determined that two UAVs were sighted by a second merchant vessel, a bulk carrier, which was nearby. The bulker was sailing in parallel to the Gabon-flagged tanker at the time. The Gabon-flagged tanker may have spotted the missile/a projectile as it headed further west, towards where the bulker reported UAVs fell into the water. Ambrey assessed it highly unlikely that the Houthis would target the Gabon-flagged tanker, given its clear affiliation with the Russian oil trade. US Central Command updated that the SAI BABA reported that she was hit by a one-way UAV, with no injuries reported. Ambrey has upgraded the event categorisation to physical damage. Though she kept on her AIS transmissions, there were no further attacks. Given the reported statement that the Houthis denied responsibility for the missile fired toward the Gabon-flagged tanker, it was assessed that she was not the intended target.
- A Cayman Islands-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier reported sighting two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The first UAV was 28M southeast of Tiyo, Eritrea and 64M southwest of Hodeidah, Yemen. This landed in the sea two cables from the port quarter. The second UAV also fell into the sea 27M southeast of Tiyo, Eritrea and 62M southwest of Hodeidah approximately 40 minutes later. No damage was reported to the bulker.
Ambrey Daily Incident report:
- YEMEN, 23 DECEMBER
A Norwegian-flagged tanker reported a “near-miss” of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), approximately 50 Miles west of Hodeidah, Yemen.
- ERITREA, 23 DECEMBER
Merchant vessels had reported sighting an aerial projectile 38M offshore Iddi, Eritrea. Vessels in the vicinity reported observing a ‘missile fired over’ a Gabon-flagged crude oil tanker and that there was an ‘attack with the missile.’
- ERITREA, 23 DECEMBER
A Cayman Islands-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier reported sighting two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The first UAV was 28M southeast of Tiyo, Eritrea and 64M southwest of Hodeidah, Yemen. This landed in the sea two cables from the port quarter. The second UAV also fell into the sea 27M southeast of Tiyo, Eritrea and 62M southwest of Hodeidah approximately 40 minutes later.
- INDIA, 23 DECEMBER
A Liberia-flagged chemical/products carrier was struck on the stern by a UAV, which caused a fire in the rope locker, approximately 200M southwest of Veraval, India
- DJIBOUTI, 20 DECEMBER
A Singapore-flagged bulk carrier was approached by four skiffs while transiting southbound through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, approximately 13M west of Dhubab, Yemen.
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS | APPROACH
- YEMEN, 20 DECEMBER
A Liberia-flagged tanker sighted an aerial threat flying above the vessel while transiting eastbound through the Gulf of Aden, closing on Point A of the International Recommended Transit Corridor
WAR RISK | SIGHTING
- SOMALIA, 20 DECEMBER
A Malta-flagged bulk carrier was hijacked 380M east of Socotra Island. The crew were taken hostage and the vessel was transferred to Somali territorial waters.
CRIME | EDR
- DJIBOUTI, 20 DECEMBER
A Liberia-flagged tanker sighted an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flying in the vessel’s vicinity while exiting the Bab el-Mandeb Strait southbound approximately 7M south of Perim Island, Yemen.
WAR RISK | SIGHTING
Suez Canal Transits
The Suez Canal Authority has reported a 15% decline in transits, particularly of container vessels, in recent weeks. The sharp decline continues with only 51 Suez Transits today. The trend line for December is now in decline.
Cape of Good Hope Rerouting
Through World of Ports we now see several Container and Tanker vessels arriving in Mauritius. It does appear that Operators are bypassing South Africa and using Port Louis, Mauritius as their bunker call. There is congestion in South African ports due to bad weather and equipment failures. However, there is sufficient bunker capacity, although Inchcape local port agents report halted supply at Algoa Bay due to customs and regulatory disputes. Clarksons reports over 150 vessels have chosen to reroute to date, which will result in price increases, and also increased demand for bunkers, crew logistics and husbandry. Typically a Cape of Good Hope transit may add 9-14 days to a voyage length over a Suez Transit.
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.
- 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:
South Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org