S'pore-registered tanker was attacked by 'explosive-laden boat' off Saudi Arabia: MFA

None of the crew members have been hurt.

Matthias Ang | December 16, 2020, 01:27 PM

A Singapore-registered oil tanker, BW RHINE, has been attacked by an 'explosive-laden boat' while it was anchored at the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, according to a Wednesday (Dec. 16) statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Small fire, no injuries

The attack happened on Dec. 14, and resulted in a small fire and hull damage.

None of the ship's 22 crew members were injured, and there were no Singaporeans on board.

CNN reported that the crew extinguished the fire with assistance from tug boats and shore fire brigades.

A statement by the ship's owner and operator, Hafnia, said that the ship's master had immediately ceased all discharge operations and enacted emergency responses in response to the incident.

MFA added that the the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is currently investigating the incident with the relevant Saudi authorities. They said:

"According to an official spokesman from the Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the vessel was attacked by an 'explosive-laden boat'.

Singapore condemns all attacks on commercial vessels which pose a serious threat to the security and safety of international maritime navigation and trade."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Saudi energy ministry has labelled the incident as a terrorist attack. According to France 24, the spokesperson said,

"These acts of terrorism and vandalism, directed against vital installations, go beyond the kingdom and its vital facilities, to the security and stability of energy supplies to the world and the global economy."

The official did not say who was responsible for the attack.

Latest incident in a string of attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure

The attack on the BW RHINE comes a month after an explosion hit a Greek-operated oil tanker at Saudi Arabia's port of Shuqaiq.

At that time, the explosion had been caused by a "water-borne improvised explosive device" that a Saudi-led military coalition said was launched by Iranian Houthi rebels, France24 further reported.

However, the Houthis themselves did not comment on that incident.

Instead, they claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a Saudi Aramco oil distribution station in Jeddah in the same month.

Saudi Arabia is currently leading a coalition to support the internationally recognised government of Yemen against the Houthi rebels, in a conflict that has been going on since 2014.

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Top photo by Timo Adam via Flickr