Ships with ties to Israel banned from Malaysian ports
The Malaysian government has decided to ban all cargo ships with ties to Israel from calling its ports, in response to the ongoing brutality against the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. Malaysia’s prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, said in a statement that the maritime ban would be imposed immediately and permanently.
In his statement, Ibrahim singled out ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, Israel’s largest shipping company. “The Malaysian government decided to block and disallow the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM from docking at any Malaysian port,” Ibrahim said.
Furthermore, the government has also decided to no longer allow Israel-flagged vessels to dock in the country, while any ship on its way to or from Israel will not be able to discharge or load any cargo in Malaysia. The restrictions have come as a response to “Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and brutality against Palestinians.”
The decision comes amidst growing international concern about the situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden where Houthi militia have been targeting vessels with ties to Israel. Major cargo carriers, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, Maersk, and MSC have temporarily halted transits through the Suez Canal, which is transited by about 12 per cent of the world’s shipping traffic. For safety reasons, vessels are now being directed around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.
Several vessels en route to the region have reportedly switched off their AIS to mask their position and avoid attacks.
In response to the threats, the USA and its allies launched the operation Prosperity Guardian. It is a multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.
Operation Prosperity Guardian brings together the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain. Seeing this as a threat to its operations, Houthi militia have reportedly voiced their readiness to attack US warships, should they target the Iran-backed militia.