Greek-operated tanker damaged by mine at Saudi terminal: Security firm

File photo of the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP)

An explosion damaged a Greek-managed tanker at a Saudi Arabian terminal on the Red Sea just north of the Yemeni border, the ship’s manager said on Wednesday, in an attack confirmed by Saudi Arabia.

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In a statement published by state media, the Arab-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said a commercial vessel
suffered minor damage from shrapnel in what it described as a foiled terrorist attack
.

British maritime security company Ambrey said earlier that the Maltese-flagged LR2/Aframax tanker Agrari, managed by TMS Tankers, was damaged by a mine while berthed at the al-Shuqaiq Steam Power Plant (SSPP).

“The explosion took place in port limits and punctured the hull of the vessel, which is in ballast,” Ambrey said in a statement. It did not say when the incident happened but noted the vessel had arrived at al-Shuqaiq on November 23.

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The Maltese-flagged tanker Agrari, is operated by Greece’s TMS Tankers, Ambrey said.

The tanker was struck on Wednesday about 1 meter above the waterline and suffered a breach while at berth in al-Shuqaiq in Saudi Arabia, its manager Athens-based shipping company TMS Tankers said in a statement.

No spill or pollution

The incident happened at midnight GMT. It was “attacked by an unknown source ... after completion of her discharging and preparing to depart. We have nobody injured, there is no spill or pollution. The ship is in good condition, everyone is ok.”

No one was injured in the blast and the causes were still not clear, the Greek ministry of the merchant marine said.

“The explosion happened around 0300 local time (0000 GMT), but the causes have not yet been identified,” a ministry press official said in Athens.

There were 25 crew members onboard including seven Greeks, the official said.

“The crew’s health is good,” a senior ministry official said.

Owned by the Economou group of companies, the tanker was carrying no cargo when the explosion happened, the ministry added.


The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) separately said it was aware a vessel had experienced an explosion at Shuqaiq in Saudi Arabia while operating at an oil-fired power plant there. It said investigations were ongoing.

Al-Shuqaiq is on Saudi’s Red Sea coast, just north of the Yemeni border.

Yemen’s Houthi group on Monday claimed a strike on a Saudi Aramco petroleum products distribution plant in Jeddah. Aramco and Saudi authorities confirmed the attack.

The Arab coalition reported on Tuesday that it removed and destroyed five Iranian-made naval mines planted by the Houthis in the southern Red Sea, condemning the attempted attacks as posing “a serious threat to maritime security in the Bab al-Mandab strait.”

Thw Arab coalition has been battling the Houthis since March 2015. Houthi military officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Houthis regarding the latest incident.

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Last Update: Thursday, 26 November 2020 KSA 07:51 - GMT 04:51
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