“We have taken the decision to halt all crossings through the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden until further notice,” the company said in an update to customers.
Oil prices were volatile on Tuesday, jumping more than 2% earlier in the day on tensions in the Red Sea but later giving up those gains. US crude fell in the latest trading by 82 cents, or 1.14%, to trade at $70.83 per barrel. Brent lost 68 cents, or 0.88%, to trade at $76.36 a barrel.
Helima Croft, head of global commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said oil prices were not reflecting increased tensions because traders were not convinced that a major supply disruption was on the horizon.
“The market is basically saying: 'We'll wait and see until something happens,'” Croft told CNBC on Tuesday. “But it becomes more dangerous every day,” she said of tensions in the region.
The Maersk Hangzhou container ship was attacked over the weekend by four small boats piloted by Houthi militants who are based in Yemen and support Iran.
US Navy helicopters responded to a distress call from the ship Maersk Hangzhou and opened fire on the militants after it was attacked, sinking three boats and killing the crew, according to US Central Command.
“The investigation into the incident is ongoing and we will continue to temporarily halt all cargo movement through the region while we assess the continually evolving situation,” Maersk said in its update on Tuesday.
The company said that the ships will be redirected and continue their journey around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa in cases where this makes sense.
Houthi militants have repeatedly attacked ships in the Red Sea in recent weeks in response to the war in Gaza. The attacks raised concerns about the disruption of global trade through the vital waterway.
About 12% of global trade and about 3 million barrels of crude oil pass through the Red Sea every day, according to RBC Capital Markets.
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