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Tankers divert from Red Sea after West strikes in Yemen – Times of India

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LONDON: Several oil tankers have diverted course from the Red Sea since overnight strikes by the US and Britain on Houthi targets in Yemen, shipping data from LSEG and Kpler showed, amid rising fears of a regional escalation of the Israel-Hamas war. The attacks were carried out from the air and sea in response to the Iran-backed Houthis’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

The Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels since late last year in attacks the groups says aim to support the Palestinians as Israel and Hamas wage war.Those incidents have been concentrated on the Bab al-Mandab Strait, to the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. In a further sign of escalation, Iran on Thursday seized a tanker with Iraqi crude destined for Turkiye. That incident took place closer to the Strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran, another vital shipping lane for global trade.
The tankers Toya, Diyyinah-I, Stolt Zulu and Navig8 Pride LHJ were all seen turning around mid-voyage in order to avoid the Red Sea between 0300 and 0730 GMT on Friday, according to ship tracking from LSEG and Kpler. One of the tankers, Toya, a very large crude carrier capable of carrying up to 2 million barrels of oil, was unladen, the data showed. The other three vessels are fuel tankers.
Global benchmark Brent rose as much as 4.3%, briefly topping $80 a barrel, before paring gains. Investors are trying to gauge whether the escalation in hostilities would spark a broader conflict.
The Combined Maritime Forces, a multinational maritime partnership led by the US from Bahrain, warned all ships to “stay well away from Bab al-Mandab”, tanker body INTERTANKO said in a note circulated to its members. “The threat period for shipping is expected to last for several days,” the note said. Numerous shipping companies had in recent weeks already opted to avoid the Red Sea region due to the heightened risks. On Friday, Danish oil tanker group Torm said it decided to pause all transits through the southern Red Sea.
Container shipping companies Maersk and Hapag Lloyd welcomed measures to secure the region. But they stopped short of saying whether the strikes would be enough for them to return to the Suez Canal, the fastest route between Asia and Europe which accounts for 12% of global container traffic.

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