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Red Sea update: Early signs of stabilisation in vessel transits through key choke points 

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Key data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence for the week ending February 11, 2024

Numbers reflect cargo-carrying vessels of 10,000dwt+. Pre-Houthi attack average taken for the period November 6 - December 3, 2023.

  • Vessel transits through the Bab el Mandeb strait are down 4% compared with last week and 50% lower than the same period last year. Compared with the 4-week average prior to the Houthi attacks, the figure is down by 54%
  • Suez Canal transits are up 2% from last week but down 46% year on year
  • Passings around the Cape of Good Hope fell 2% week on week but are up 93% compared with last year
  • On average, each day last week there were 220 vessels active in the Red Sea, down from 373 last year but up from 212 in Week 5

Passings through the Bab el Mandab strait are showing signs of stabilisation with vessel transits falling by 4% from last week to around 231, although this figure will increase when more data on dark transits becomes available. This is down from 459 vessels in the equivalent week (6) of 2023.

There was two recorded attacks on vessels in the region in the week ending February 11 - the Barbados flagged containership Morning Tide, which suffered slight damage to the bridge windows, and the Marshall Islands-flagged Star Bulk carrier Star Nasia, which suffered minor damage after a missile exploded in close proximity to the ship.

A second Star Bulk carrier, Star Iris, was attacked with two missiles 40 nautical miles south of Al Mukha, Yemen on February 12 and also suffered only minor damage.

Bulk carrier was the most prominent vessel type across the week with 107 transits through the Bab el Mandab strait, up from 100 the week before. Crude oil tanker transits increased to 48 from 38. But there was a significant drop in product tanker transits to 27, from 42, and general cargoships to 9 from 18.



The number of vessels transiting the Suez canal between February 5 and February 11 increased to 222 from 218, with the number of bulk carrier transits rising to 105 from 92. Containership transits fell to 24 from 34 previously while crude oil tanker transits matched the previous week with 46.

After the recent rapid increase, the number of vessels transiting around the Cape of Good Hope levelled off to 623 in the week ending February 11, down from 634 in the previous seven days but still well above the 323 recorded in the same week last year and 53% up on the 4-week average pre-Houthi attacks.

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