Yemeni military forces Israeli company ZIM to change shipping routes

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The Yemeni Armed Forces have obliged the Israeli shipping company “ZIM” to change its course and not pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea and divert it through the Cape of Good Hope Route.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, posted a mysterious one-word tweet: “ZIM”. On that day, the Zim Europe vessel changed its course and headed around Africa.

After three attacks on Israeli-linked ships, the container ship operated by Israeli shipping company “ZIM” changed its course and took a long route around Africa instead of crossing the Suez Canal and passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait in Yemen.

According to Marine Traffic, the Ship’s location data shows that the “Zim Europe” en route from Boston to Port Klang, Malaysia, passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea on Friday. It continued easterly until it was between Oran, Algeria, and Cartagena, Spain, and then circled on Saturday afternoon.

“Zim Europe”, the container ship — with a capacity of 5,618 twenty-foot equivalent units — headed back to the Atlantic Ocean and down the west coast of Africa. As of Monday, it had passed through Casablanca, Morocco, and headed south at a speed of 16 knots.

The journey from the Strait of Gibraltar to Port Klang via the Cape of Good Hope is 56% longer than the journey through the Suez Canal.

Zim, whose stock hit a new all-time low on Monday, is the most visible among Israeli shipping companies and the most linked to the government. The government of “Israel” has a gold stake or special state interest in the company that ensures the government’s access to Zim’s flotilla in times of emergency or for national security purposes.

The Israeli liner operator has three services transiting the Bab el-Mandab Strait: ZIM India Israel (ZII), ZIM India Türkiye (ZIT), and ZIM Mediterranean Premium Service (ZMP).

The ZII service uses space on ships of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). ZIT also uses space on MSC vessels, plus one CMA CGM vessel.

ZMP is more problematic from a security perspective, as it uses multiple vessels with the word “ZIM” drawn on the hull, including Zim Europe. ZMP also uses uneasily identifiable charter vessels such as Zim’s cargo, including one that was in the Red Sea and bound for the Bab al-Mandab Strait on Monday.