Maersk pauses Red Sea voyages a day after Houthis attack ship

The decision comes a week after the company announced plans to resume routes through the region

Denmark-based shipping giant Maersk said Sunday it will once again pause all transits through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden after one of its vessels came under attack by Houthi rebels on Saturday.

The announcement comes just one week after Maersk officials said it would resume routes through the area which were stopped because of similar attacks.

Maersk said routes through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait were paused in early December because of attacks against its ships, and the Suez Canal, which is heavily traversed by ships from around the world, became unstable for most routes.

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On Dec. 19, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said ships and aircraft of several nations would join the U.S. in conducting surveillance and taking defensive action against Houthi rebels who target commercial ships in the Red Sea, in what is being called, "Operation Prosperity Guardian."

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A large blue colored ship off having its freight offloaded

Giant gantry cranes and off-loading freighter in Haifa container port, Israel. (Planet One Images/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

With the operation in place, Maersk said in a release on Friday that it was resuming voyages through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as the Suez Canal, as a gateway between Asia and Europe.

But everything changed Saturday, when the container ship Maersk Hangzhou reported they were struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea.

The container ship requested assistance, and the USS Gravely and USS Laboon responded.

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Maersk Ship

A Maersk container ship heading towards the Red Sea after passing through the Suez Canal in Suez, Egypt. (Kristian Helgesen/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

While responding, the USS Gravely shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships.

Maersk said in a press release that after being struck by an unknown object and seeing no indication of fire on the ship, it continued its transit north in the Red Sea.

Then, four boats approached the vessel and opened fire in an attempt to board the ship.

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tanker off coast of Red Sea

The tanker Island Challenger is moored off the coast of the Mediterranean port of Limassol. (Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Maersk Hangzhou’s security team, along with a helicopter deployed from a nearby navy vessel, thwarted the attempt and the crew of the Hangzhou was reported to be safe.

"The safety of our crew is our utmost priority and all necessary security measures have been implemented to protect them," Maersk said. "Maersk is currently working to ascertain the full details of the incident involving Maersk Hangzhou."

The company also said it is in close dialogue with authorities to assess the security level in the area.

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Maersk said it is pausing voyages in the area until at least Jan. 2, at which point the company expects to provide customers with an update on the situation.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.