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  • Context (IE): The Red Sea attacks have disrupted the Suez Canal route through the Red Sea.
  • Shipping firms must trade off the difficult choice of paying higher insurance premiums on the risky Red Sea route and taking the longer and costlier way around the Cape of Good Hope.

About the Cape Route

  • The European-Asian sea route (Cape Route) is a shipping route from the European coast of the Atlantic Ocean to Asia’s coast of the Indian Ocean.
  • It passes via the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas at the southern edge of Africa.
  • The Cape route was the direct route discovered by Vasco da Gama to reach India from Europe.
  • The opening of the shorter Suez Canal route led to a decline in shipping through the longer Cape Route.
  • Ships larger than the Suezmax size use the Cape route.
  • Cape Route has become less critical, although it still is an alternative secondary route if the Suez Canal is somehow disrupted, for e.g. in case of recent Houthi attacks.
  • Suezmax is the maximum ship size for the Suez Canal.

 Suez Canal Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

Political Map of Africa Cape Aghullas

  • It is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
  • Contrary to misconception, Cape Agulhas is the southern tip of Africa, not the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Before the optimistic name “Cape of Good Hope”, it was initially named “Cape of Storms” by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias.
  • Cape Agulhas is the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is also the meeting point of the warm-water Agulhas current and the cold-water Benguela current.
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