Dubai – An oil tanker off the port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia was hit by an explosion early Monday after being hit by an “external source,” the shipping company said.
The BW line, a Singapore-flagged vessel, saw all 22 seafarers escape without injury, the BW Group said in a statement. The company warned that oil could be leaking from the explosion site.
Saudi Arabia did not immediately recognize the explosion that struck ports and distribution centers that are important to oil trade. Last month, mines damaged another tanker off the coast of Saudi Arabia in an attack accusing the Houthi rebels of Yemen.
The Royal Navy’s organization, the Royal Navy’s Maritime Trade Operation, has called attention to vessels in the region and said an investigation is underway.
Maritime information company Dryad Global also reported an explosion. No one immediately suggested the cause.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which patrols the Middle East, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The explosion occurred after a mine exploded off the coast of Saudi Arabia last month, damaging the ship. Another mysterious attack targeted a cargo ship off the coast of the small port city of Nishtun in the Far East of Yemen earlier this month.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have used mines before a long war with a Saudi-led coalition. However, the Houthi did not comment on last month’s attack.
Dryad Global said that if it was the Houthi behind the Monday explosion, it would “represent a fundamental change in both targeting ability and intent.”
The Red Sea is an important route for both cargo and the world’s energy supply, and mining in this region is dangerous not only to Saudi Arabia but to other parts of the world. The mine can enter the water and be swept away by the seasonal changes in the Red Sea.
The Red Sea has been previously mined. In 1984, about 19 ships reported offensive mines there, and only one was recovered and disarmament, according to a UN expert committee investigating the war in Yemen.
Follow Jon Gambrell (www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP) on Twitter.
Copyright 2020 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
“External sources” cause oil tanker explosion off Saudi Arabia
Source link “External sources” cause oil tanker explosion off Saudi Arabia