Egypt’s Suez Canal authority said on Sunday it is closely monitoring the navigation traffic after the announcement of some shipping lines that are shifting their journeys to the Cape of Good Hope route.

The announcement 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.

Since November 19, 55 ships have rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope, while 2,128 have crossed the canal in the same period, the authority said.

The authority is “watching the ongoing tensions in the Red Sea closely and examining their effect on the navigation traffic through the canal,” the body’s chairman, Ossama Rabiee, said in a statement. Maritime traffic in the canal is currently normal, he added, without going into further detail.

Rabiee said that on Sunday, 77 ships crossed the canal, with a total net tonnage amounting to 4 million tons, among them a number of vessels affiliated to those shipping lines which announced shifting their journeys from the Suez Canal temporarily.

The authority´s chairman explained that on Sunday the vessels Maersk Saigon, CMA CGM Christophe Colomb, and MSC Fabienne transited among the north-bound convoy as these vessels were present in the Red Sea region before the announcement made by these shipping lines on shifting their journeys to the Cape of Good Hope route.

He also emphasized that the Suez Canal will remain the fastest and shortest route as the saved time for the vessels transiting the Canal between Asia and Europe would reach from 9 days to 2 weeks according to the port of origin and port of destination.

It is worth mentioning that 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.

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

Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk said in a statement sent to the BBC that it is pausing all journeys through the Red Sea until further notice.