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The Red Sea Crisis: Tracking the volatile security situation

Commercial vessels seeking protection

Some vessels still sailing through the Red Sea changed their destination in the AIS data destination field to ‘VL NO CONTACT ISRAEL’ in the hope that they would be able to sail safely through the area and protect themselves from Houthi attacks.

Another observation from the AIS data destination field are the mentions of ‘ARMED GUARDS ON BOARD’, the use of which increased significantly towards the end of 2023 compared to the same time in the previous year. These mentions are aimed to discourage potential hijackers.

The below graph including Historical AIS data shows that over the course of 2023 maritime traffic in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Suez has been considerably higher than in the previous year. Upon the Red Sea attacks starting however, a decline in traffic is noticeable. A further sharp decline in traffic is showing from the 16th of December resulting in 2022 traffic surpassing 2023 traffic in a year-on-year comparison by the 23rd of December.

A report from Spire posted on January 18, 2024.


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