Chairman of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said on Thursday that ongoing tensions in the Red Sea threaten "to exacerbate the volume of harmful carbon emissions of vessels as they consume larger amounts of fuel when they take alternative routes and sail for longer distances."
His comments came during a virtual meeting with Arsenio Dominguez Velasco, the newly appointed secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to discuss the repercussions of the current situation in the Red Sea region.
"Navigation in the Suez Canal continues and has not stopped despite the various challenges... and we continue to communicate with customers and support them by providing new services that have not been provided before," Rabie said.
According to an SCA statement, Rabie added that the Suez Canal saves fuel consumption and harmful carbon emissions compared to alternative routes, reducing carbon emissions by 55.4 million tons in 2023.
The IMO secretary-general voiced support for freedom of navigation and called for calm in the Red Sea region.
"We are delivering a clear message that navigation in the Suez Canal is still open to everyone," said he.
Both officials discussed the recent developments in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab region, as well as mechanisms of cooperation and joint action to reduce the effects of the crisis on global supply chains and maritime freight traffic, added the statement.
On Monday, Rabie said the SCA's companies and shipyards prepared to offer repair and maintenance services that transiting ships may need when encountering breakdowns or emergencies.
The Houthi group launched attacks on Red Sea ships last November, saying it was a response to the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip. The Red Sea tension escalated after American and British warplanes struck Houthi sites in Yemen earlier this month.