Photo Credit: Google Maps
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates

Qatar announced Monday (Jan. 15) that it has suspended shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) via the Red Sea due to the instability in the shipping lane caused by Iranian-backed Houthi attacks from Yemen launched in solidarity with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist organization in its war against Israel.

QatarEnergy, the world’s second largest exporter of liquified natural gas, has thus far stopped at least four tankers from transiting the Red Sea due to the ongoing attacks, according to Reuters.


Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report Monday evening.

During 2023, western Europe imported at least 13 percent of its natural gas from Qatar. At least 12 percent of the world’s shipping transits through the Suez Canal to get from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, by far the shorter route to Europe. Those who ship from Asia sail from the Gulf of Aden through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait — between Yemen and Djibouti — to reach the Red Sea.

Shipping companies who are opting to avoid the Red Sea route are now routing their vessels around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding at least nine extra days and a much higher cost to the route.

Six additional oil tankers avoided the Red Sea on Monday, bringing the total to 15 such vessels since last week, when the United States and United Kingdom finally lost patience with the paralysis of the shipping lane and attacked multiple Houthi military sites in Yemen.

At around 4 pm local time on Monday, the US-owned M/V Gibraltar Eagle container ship was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by the Houthis from Yemen. “The ship has reported no injuries or significant damage and is continuing its journey,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, at around 2 pm local time, US forces detected an anti-ship ballistic missile fired toward the southern Red Sea shipping lanes — but the missile misfired and landed instead on Yemeni territory.

One day earlier, an anti-ship cruise missile was fired by the Houthis at the USS Laboon while operating in the southern Red Sea. The missile was shot down near Yemen’s Hodaida port by US fighter aircraft. No damage or injuries were reported.

The Houthis began their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea in solidarity with their fellow Iranian proxy, Gaza’s Hamas terrorist organization, who invaded Israel on October 7th and launched a massacre of more than 1,200 people, abducting 250 others whom they dragged into Gaza captivity. At least 136 of those hostages are still being held in the enclave, including the bodies of some who are no longer living.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.