Maersk Marks First European Green Methanol Bunkering in Port Rotterdam

Container line AP Moller-Maersk is preparing to resume voyages through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound.

This follows the setting up of the multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) to allow maritime ships passage through the critical Red Sea after a series of missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis.

The company expects to announce a plan for the first vessels to make the transit in the “coming days”, it said in a customer advisory on Sunday.

In the advisory, Maersk said it received confirmation that the previously announced multi-national security initiative OPG led by U.S. has now been set up and deployed to allow maritime commerce to pass through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway between Asia and Europe.

This is most welcome news for the entire industry and indeed the functionality of global trade, the line said.

“With the OPG initiative in operation, we are preparing to allow for vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound. We are currently working on plans for the first vessels to make the transit and for this to happen as soon as operationally possible. While doing so, ensuring the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance and our number one priority in handling the challenging situation in the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden area,” Maersk noted.

“Our teams are still assessing the immediate effects of the resolution, and we kindly request your patience while we understand the impact it will have in terms of diverted vessels, surcharges, booking acceptance and further contingency measures. We will communicate the latest details of this new setup with you as soon as we have more information, which we expect to be in the coming days,” the statement added.

Maersk and other carriers pause, adjust and divert services away from the area in the interest of safety.

Several leading shipping companies paused and re-routed the vessels around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope. The transit time for ships nearly doubled, and this, in turn, led to an increase in freight cost.

With Maersk pausing operations through the Suez Canal amid a slew of drone attacks on container vessels in the region, CEO Vincent Clerc says re-routing traffic around the southern tip of Africa will cause shipping delays of two to four weeks.

Maersk also said that while security measures have been put in place to enable the transit of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, it acknowledges that the overall risk in the area is not eliminated at this stage, and the company stands ready to re-evaluate the situation and initiate diversion plans if necessary to ensure the safety of its seafarers.