Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, is preparing to resume its ships’ passage through the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden. This follows the setting up of the multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) to allow maritime ships passage through the critical Red Sea/Gulf of Aden that connects Asia with Europe and the US.

The OPG is a US-led military operation by a predominantly Western multi-national coalition formed a few days ago to respond to Houthi-led attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

In a trade advisory, Maersk on Sunday said it received confirmation that the previously announced multi-national security initiative OPG has now been set up and deployed to allow maritime commerce to pass through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway between Asia and Europe.

This is welcome news for global trade, the line said.

With the OPG initiative in operation, Maersk said it is preparing to allow vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound.

“We are currently working on plans for the first vessels to make the transit and for this to happen as soon as operationally possible. While doing so, ensuring the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance and our number one priority in handling the challenging situation in the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden area,” the advisory said.

“Although security measures are in place to enable the transit of the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden for our vessels, the overall risk in the area is not eliminated at this stage. Maersk will not hesitate to re-evaluate the situation and once again initiate diversion plans if we deem it necessary for the safety of our seafarers,” the advisory said.

The recent security situation around the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden has seen Maersk and other carriers pause, adjust and divert services away from the area in the interest of safety. The ships were diverted via the Cape of Good Hope in the southern tip of Africa. The transit time for ships nearly doubled, and this, in turn, led to an increase in freight cost.

“Our utmost priority has been and always will be the safety of our seafarers as well as your cargo on our vessels, and all contingency measures have been introduced with these in mind,” Maersk said.