Tanker damaged in explosion at Saudi terminal

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

In a statement published by state media, the Saudi-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.

Athens-based TMS Tankers said the Maltese-flagged vessel it managed was “attacked by an unknown source” while at berth in Shuqaiq in Saudi Arabia after it completed discharging and was preparing to depart.

“The Agrari was struck about a metre above the waterline and suffered a breach,” TMS Tankers said in a statement.

“It is confirmed the crew are safe and there are no injuries. No pollution has been reported. The vessel is in ballast condition and stable,” the company said, adding an investigation was underway.

The blast follows a number of security incidents concerning Saudi oil infrastructure.

British maritime security company Ambrey said earlier Agrari was damaged by a mine while berthed at the al-Shuqaiq Steam Power Plant.

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

A TMS company source told Reuters: “I can’t confirm what exactly the cause was. It is possible it was from a mine, certainly it was a blast.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations separately said it was aware a vessel experienced an explosion at Shuqaiq.

The Agrari is an aframax crude oil tanker, data on TMS Tankers website showed.

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

Two weeks ago, a fire near a floating platform belonging to the Jazan oil products terminal was contained with no injuries.

That fire was the result of another attempted Houthi attack, in which the Saudi-led coalition intercepted and destroyed two explosive-laden boats in the southern Red Sea.

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

Houthi leader Muhammed Ali Houthi did not deny the attack saying in a tweet military or security operations are officially announced through military and security establishments.

Saudi state television reported the coalition destroyed a Houthi-laid mine in the Red Sea, a day after it said it destroyed five Houthi mines there.