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OOCL halts Israel shipments amid escalating Red Sea threat

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HONG KONG : Hong Kong-based shipping company OOCL has suspended shipments to and from Israel in response to the rising threat to commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The company announced the decision in a statement on its website on Saturday. “Due to operational issues, OOCL will stop cargo acceptance to and from Israel with immediate effect until further notice,” it said.

The move comes after shipping companies MSC, AP Moller-Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd issued similar instructions for their vessels to avoid the Red Sea in light of recent attacks orchestrated by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis.

The militia group has been targeting ships in the Red Sea in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, which has so far claimed the lives of 18,800 civilians.

The attacks initially focused on vessels with ownership links to Israel but have become more indiscriminate over the past week.

Avoiding the Red Sea, which provides access to the Suez Canal, significantly increases the distance container ships have to travel.

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