Oil tanker attacked at port of Saudi Arabia by “booby-trapped boat” amid ongoing war in Yemen


Dubai, United Arab Emirates An oil tanker away from Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jidah was attacked on Monday by a small “boobite-trapped boat” rigged with explosives, causing a small fire on the ship, Saudi State TV reported from the state government ministry. Cited an official of.

The anonymous officer did not name any suspects, but pointed to the seriousness of such criminal acts and the threat to the safety of sea traffic, oil exports and freedom of global trade, in addition to the possible environmental consequences of gas or oil. leakage.

Earlier, a shipping company said the tanker exploded after hitting an “external source”, suggesting another ship was attacked amid Saudi Arabia attacks Years old war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabian Tanker Blast
This unannounced photo released by AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER SG shows BW Rhine, a Singapore-flagged oil tanker.

Tommy Chia / AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER SG / AP


The attack on Singapore’s flagged BW Rhine, which was contracted by the trading arm of the state’s largely Saudi Arabian Oil Company, marks the fourth attack targeting Saudi energy infrastructure in a month. It apparently closes the port of Jiddah, the most important shipping point for the state.

The attack renews concerns about ship safety in the Red Sea, an important transit area for global shipping and energy supplies that avoided the chaos of regional tensions involving the US and Iran last year.

According to data-analysis firm Refinitive, Bead Rhine reached a berth in Jiddah on Saturday, where it had a 60,000 metric ton unalloyed refinery from Aramco Refinery in Yanbu. It was there that the incident appears.

The ship “was hit by an external source while discharging,” said Hafna, a tanker company under the BW Group that owns and operates the ship.

The attack caused the ship to explode and fire, although all 22 sailors survived without injury and firefighters later extinguished the explosion, Hafna said. Some oil may have polluted the water with the ship, though the company said it was still assessing the damage.

It took hours for Saudi Arabia to accept the explosion.

The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, an organization under Britain’s imperial navy, urged vessels in the region to be cautious and said the investigation was continuing. It was later stated that the port of Jiddah was closed for an “unknown period” without further extension.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, also reported the explosion. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the Midiator, did not respond to a request for comment.


Saudi Arabia, UAE Respond to Tanker Attacks

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The explosion occurred last month after a Saudi Arabian ship was damaged and damaged. Another mysterious attack earlier this month targeted a cargo ship in the small port city of Nishtun, Yemen’s far east.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels Have used sea mines before their long war against the Saudi-led coalition. However, the Houthis have not commented on last month’s attack, nor on Monday.

Dryd Global said that if it was the Houthis behind the Monday blast, it would “represent a fundamental shift in both targeting capabilities and intent.”

Since mid-November, Saudi Arabia has attempted an attack on Jazan in the form of a bomb-laden drone boat, as well as a cruise missile attack claimed by the Houthis that attacked the Aramco oil facility in Jidah. From an Energy Ministry official’s description of Monday’s incident, it became possible that another drone boat was used to attack the BW Rhine.

SAUDI ARABIA-JEDDAH-OIL TANK-ATTACK
A fuel tank was damaged in the fire by what Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy said was a terrorist attack on November 24, 2020 in North Jidah.

Xinhua / Tu Yifan / Getty


Last year saw events following tensions between the US and Iran, a series of escalating events in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. While the US has formed a new coalition to monitor shipping there after those incidents, it does not work in the Red Sea.

In recent weeks, an attack in Iran killed a prominent scientist who had founded Tehran’s military nuclear program two decades earlier, suspected of an attack by Israel.

The attack brought down oil prices, which had already been rising in recent times as Western countries start distributing vaccines of coronavirus. Benchmark Brent crude was above $ 50 a barrel in Monday trading.

The Red Sea, with the Suez Canal in the north and the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the south, is an important shipping lane for both cargo and global energy supplies. Its currents change seasonally and now move north. Saudi Arabia recently accused the Houthis of dumping mines in the southern Red Sea, which could be diverted to Jidah.

The Red Sea has been mined before. According to a joint panel of experts investigating the Yemen war, in 1984, some 19 ships closed the mines there, only one of which was ever recovered and disarmed. Any new mining could endanger global shipping and be difficult to find for any mine operating – taking risks and potentially the cost of insurance for sailing in the region.

Ranjith Raja, head of oil and shipping research in the Middle East and North Africa, said, “The series of increases in the Red Sea will certainly increase the risk of the region.” “This in turn may increase the insurance premium for additional protection on ships operating in the area, which will have an impact on the cost of shipment.”

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