Red Sea Attacks Menace Energy Tankers but Don’t Stop Them

Attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels in Yemen have left oil tanker operators facing an unwelcome calculation: accept the risks of steaming through the danger zone, or lose business.

The risks of conflict in the area may even be increasing, with a coalition of 12 nations led by the United States warning Wednesday that it would “hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks.”

Despite the attacks and the risk of more, some oil companies insist that the ships they charter take this route rather than an excursion around Africa, which could require an extra two weeks at higher costs. Tanker owners “can take it or leave it,” said Henry Curra, head of global research at Braemar, a ship brokering firm in London.

The oil markets have largely shrugged off the drone and missile attacks so far. Traders figure that there is enough petroleum on hand around the world to deal with any supply problems.

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