A key trade group said the US has advised ships that continue to transit the Red Sea do so with “great care” after a fresh round of joint air strikes with the UK on Yemen’s Houthi militants.
Even so, at least four tanker owners contacted by Bloomberg said they weren’t planning on resuming sailings through the region amid Houthi attacks on vessels and retaliatory airstrikes by the US and UK.
“Right now the status is that no sensible owner will go through,” said Lars Barstad, chief executive officer of Frontline Management AS, the management unit of one of the world’s largest oil tanker owners. “The risks are just too high to crew, equipment and the environment.”
Tanker company Stena Bulk AB, which controls about 110 vessels, is also still avoiding Red Sea transits, Chief Executive Officer Erik Hanell said by email.
The US warned vessels to stay away from the region for a brief period following the airstrikes earlier this month. The Navy didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Intertanko note on Tuesday.
Last week, Clarkson Research Services Ltd. said the impact of the diversions was expanding into the tanker market. It said the volume of oil-carrying ships entering the Gulf of Aden was down about 45% on 2023 levels, following an already-significant impact on natural gas carriers and container shipping.