Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced on Wednesday that cargo ships affiliated with Israel will be banned from entering his country’s ports and sailing in its territorial waters. The restrictions are reported to be effective immediately.
Ibrahim’s statement singled out Israeli owned Zim Integrated Shipping, the tenth largest container ship company in the world, for specific criticism. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations, Zim has had permission to operate in Malaysia since 2002.
The new trade restrictions are also applicable to any carrier that has an itinerary for a port in Israel.
The Prime Minister stated that the reason for this economic boycott is due to the current military conflict in Gaza and the IDF’s alleged conduct which he described as “breaching international laws.”
There has been no comment from Jerusalem regarding this matter.
The Southeast Asian nation borders the Strait of Malacca, a 500-mile-long body of water, that serves as the main trade route between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The waterway is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, with over 82,000 navigational operations in 2022.
The global ocean transport industry has been facing many challenges since the start of the Oct. 2023 war in Gaza. This has been especially true with regards to a sustained campaign in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group to attack merchant vessels that they believe are connected to or engaging in commerce with the Jewish state.