The Marseille-based shipping liner CMA CGM Group, a global player in shipping and logistics, said on Saturday it was pausing all container shipments through the Red Sea in the wake of attacks on commercial vessels in the region.

The decision comes after an escalation in Yemen’s Houthi attacks on merchant ships that has raised concerns for the safety of global trade, with the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden becoming increasingly volatile.

“We have been taking over the past days increasing prevention measures to ensure the safety of our vessels and their crews navigating these waters. The situation is further deteriorating, and concern of safety is increasing,” the Marseille-based group said in a statement.

“As such we have decided to instruct all CMA CGM containerships in the area that are scheduled to pass through the Red Sea to reach safe areas and pause their journey in safe waters with immediate effect until further notice.”

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) confirmed today that until the Red Sea passage is safe, MSC ships will not transit the Suez Canal Eastbound and Westbound.

“Already now, some services will be rerouted to go via the Cape of Good Hope instead. This disruption will impact the sailing schedules by several days of vessels booked for Suez transit. We ask for your understanding under these serious circumstances,” MSC said.

It was revealed from the company that on December 15 the container ship MSC PALATIUM III was attacked at approximately 09.37 UTC while transiting the Red Sea under sub charter to Messina Line.

All crew are reported to be safe with no injuries, meanwhile the vessel suffered limited fire damage and has been taken out of service.

The incidents have raised fears that global supply chains could be severely disrupted if the attacks continue.

Shipping experts now report that If ships do re-route away from the Suez Canal, then it will cause disruption, especially given the ongoing restrictions due to drought at the Panama Canal.

In this case there is the risk rates to be impacted as uncertainty gives opportunity for increases to rates.