Malaysia bans Israel-flagged vessels from its ports

In response to Israel’s actions against Palestinians in Gaza, the Malaysian government has decided to ban ships flying the Israeli flag from docking at any port in the country.

On December 20, 2023, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim released a statement announcing the decision to prohibit Israel-flagged ships from docking at the country’s ports.

In addition, the Southeast Asian country also imposed a ban on any ship on its way to Israel from loading cargo in Malaysian ports.

Both of these restrictions are effective immediately.

“Malaysia is confident that the decision will not affect Malaysia’s trade activities,” the statement reads.

The government has singled out ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, the largest shipping firm in Israel, and banned its ships from Malaysia’s waters. ZIM is currently the tenth-largest container shipping company in the world, according to Alphaliner’s Top 100 list.

“The Malaysian Government has decided to block and disallow the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM from docking at any Malaysian port. The Ministry of Transport will take immediate action by imposing a permanent ban on this company with immediate effect,” the Prime Minister announced.

“These sanctions are a response to Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and brutality against Palestinians,” he added.

The move comes amid disruptions to global shipping in the Red Sea, which lies south of the Suez Canal, the quickest sea route connecting Asia and Europe. The disruptions have occurred following mounting attacks on commercial ships by Yemen’s Houthis. By targeting Israeli-affiliated vessels with drones, the Houthi army is trying to pressure the international community to address the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The attacks on merchant ships have prompted liner companies to divert their ships to longer shipping routes, causing delays and significantly increasing transportation and fuel costs.

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