Merchant vessels continue to transit through Bab El-Mandeb unimpeded

Despite the defensive blockading of the Bab El-Mandeb Strait by the Arab States’ coalition, merchant vessels continue to transit through unaffected.

As the conflict in Yemen continues, there has been much concern expressed with regards to the potential effect on the merchant vessels that frequent the high-traffic shipping lane. However, there have been no reports of any merchant vessels experiencing issues when transiting through the Bab El-Mandeb Strait.

Bimco issued a statement on 27 March confirming that there had been no disruption to merchant vessels in the region, and whilst they did offer a preliminary caution of the potential for the risk to rise, it has been established that the significance of the Bab El-Mandeb strait as an oil shipping lane in particular, means that the likelihood of trade seizing to pass through it is incredibly low.

Additionally Middle East affairs experts have stated that any disruption to shipping is a far away possibility at the moment. The threat of disruption will rise if the defensive/deterrent measures that are in place become overwhelmed by opposing military actions. However, Egypt have since deployed four warships to protect the entrance to the Red Sea and the US also have two warships on standby in the Red Sea.