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Shipping Industry Urges Urgent Action In The Red Sea As Houthis Sink Second Vessel

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FILE PHOTO: Sailors from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group assist distressed mariners rescued from the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier M/V Tutor that was attacked by Houthis, in the Red Sea, June 15, 2024. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

The shipping industry has urged urgent action to be taken in the Red Sea. This comes after the Houthis have sunk another vessel.

The world’s top shipping associations said in a joint statement.

“These attacks must stop now. We call for states with influence in the region to safeguard our innocent seafarers and for the swift de-escalation of the situation in the Red Sea.”

The Greek-owned Tutor coal carrier attacked by Yemen’s Houthi militants in the Red Sea last week has sunk. There was also another strike on another vessel Verbena.

The Houthis have carried out more than 70 attacks since November. They have also seized one vessel and its crew and killed at least three seafarers.

Commercial shipping has been badly affected by the Houthi attacks. Insurance industry sources said war risk premiums will further rise. They added that with a second ship sinking will create higher losses. This will add hundreds of thousands of dollars of extra costs to every voyage.

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary with the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the leading seafarer’s union, said ships must now divert around southern Africa. He added that this was the best way to protect seafarers.

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“We would also welcome proper escorts and the shielding of ships by naval forces.”

International naval forces are providing support for ships sailing through the Red Sea. However, the attacks have increased significantly.

Insurance industry sources said on Wednesday there was also mounting concern over the use of attack drone boats by the Houthis.

“They are harder to defend against and potentially more lethal as they strike the waterline. Missiles have – to date – mainly caused deck and superstructure damage (to ships).”

Munro Anderson, head of operations at marine war risk and insurance specialist Vessel Protect, part of Pen Underwriting said unmanned surface vessel represents a new challenge.

“The first successful use of an unmanned surface vessel represents a new challenge for commercial shipping within an already complex environment.”

With inputs from Reuters