In recent years and, in particular, in recent weeks, the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea region has witnessed a worrying increase in attacks on commercial vessels, with serious consequences for the transport of goods by sea. These attacks, often perpetrated by pirates and organised criminal groups, have generated a number of negative implications that go beyond the immediate impact on the vessels involved.

Let’s look at them in detail:

Attacchi navali Mar Rosso e Golfo Aden
  • Increased insurance and navigation (fuel) costs: attacks on commercial vessels have led to a significant increase in insurance costs for shipping companies. Companies are now forced to pay higher premiums to cover the risk of losses due to potential attacks, thus increasing overall operating costs.
  • Reduced reliability of shipping routes: shipping routes through the Gulf of Aden and the Southern Red Sea have become less reliable due to the constant threat of attacks. This has forced shipping companies to seek safer alternatives, lengthening distances and increasing transport times. This has a direct impact on delivery times and global supply chain management.
  • Risk of loss of goods and damage to vessels: commercial vessels passing through these waters risk not only being attacked, but also losing or suffering damage to the goods they carry. Attacks can lead to seizures of valuable goods and damage to ships, further increasing overall economic losses.
  • Impact on crew safety: pirate attacks not only endanger transported goods, but also the lives and safety of crew members. Seafarers are constantly exposed to dangerous situations, creating an unstable working environment and compromising the quality of shipping.
Attacchi navali Mar Rosso e Golfo di Aden

Effects on the global economy

The slowdown and insecurity in freight transport across the Gulf of Aden and the Southern Red Sea could have significant impacts on the global economy. The decrease in shipping efficiency may affect the cost of consumer goods and raw materials, which could affect various industries and economic sectors.

Several carriers have already announced that they will no longer transit the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, redirecting their ships beyond the Cape of Good Hope.

Currently, the carriers affected are as follows:

  • Maersk, MSC, CMA-CGM, Hapag Lloyd, Yang Ming, Hyundai Merchant Marine, ONE.

The main practical consequences of these disruptions are as follows:

  • Transit time to the Mediterranean and Black Sea will be extended by 15-20 days;
  • Transit time to Northern Europe will be extended by approximately 15 days;
  • The availability of equipment in the original ports will decrease due to the increase in transit time;
  • All major shipping lines are planning to apply increases to sea freight rates (PSS/GRI) from 1 January and thereafter from 15 January with a view to further escalation;
  • The current congestion in the Panama Canal will temporarily worsen with the increased number of transits during the Lunar New Year.

Attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Southern Red Sea pose a serious threat to maritime freight transport and have negative effects on several dimensions. Addressing this issue requires coordinated international efforts to secure shipping lanes and protect the transport industry, thereby preserving the stability of the global economy.

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