UK oil and gas company BP has announced plans to halt all shipments passing through the Red Sea.

The development comes amid a rise in the number of Houthi militant attacks on cargo ships.

In a statement, as reported by the Times of Israel, the energy company said: “In our trading and shipping business, as in all BP businesses, the safety and security of our people and those working on our behalf is BP’s priority.

“In light of the deteriorating security situation for shipping in the Red Sea, BP has decided to temporarily pause all transits through the Red Sea. We will keep this precautionary pause under ongoing review, subject to circumstances as they evolve in the region.”

With the move, bp has joined major shipping companies in stopping its ships from transiting the waterways that link Europe and Asia.

To avoid the Red Sea, freight companies are being forced to sail around Africa, resulting in lengthier journeys and delayed cargo deliveries.

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By GlobalData

Last week, Maersk Tankers and Euronav, two major owners of oil tankers, also stated that they were looking for options to bypass the region, reported Bloomberg.

The Houthis are claimed to be attacking ships that have ties to Israel.

bp’s decision has put a hold on all shipments that the company oversees, whether they are its own ships or those it has chartered.

The energy company’s cargo includes liquified natural gas (LNG), oil and oil-based products.

Presently, the diverted ships cannot use Egypt’s Suez Canal, which has become the main passage for global commerce in LNG over the past two years.

LNG demand in Europe has soared as it is the main alternative to Russian gas, which was transported through pipelines.

bp’s decision is expected to pressure other companies to do the same.