Accordingtoforeignmediareports,theSingapore-basedHafniaShippingCompanyissuedastatementyesterdaysayingthattheSingapore-flaggedoiltanker”BWRhine” crashed at 0:40 a.m. local time on Monday The oil tanker was attacked outside the waters of Jeddah, causing the tanker to explode and catch fire. Fortunately, all 22 crew members on board escaped safely.
Saudi official media reported that this was a “terrorist attack.” The Saudi Press Agency quoted a spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy as saying: “An oil tanker anchored at the Jeddah fuel station was attacked by a ship equipped with explosives in the early hours of Monday morning.”
Jidda Dar is an important Red Sea port in Saudi Arabia and an oil trading hub for Saudi Aramco. It is about 370 miles from the Yemeni border. The tanker that exploded was transporting gasoline to Saudi Aramco at the time. It had a maximum carrying capacity of 80,000 tons of gasoline. It loaded 60,000 tons of gasoline on December 6. There were more than 50,000 tons of gasoline left on the tanker at the time of the incident.
However, the spokesperson did not disclose the person behind the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the Associated Press, this is the fourth attack on oil and gas facilities in Saudi Arabia in the past month.
Last month, a Maltese-flagged oil tanker operated by Greece exploded near the Shuqaiq port in southern Saudi Arabia, facing the Red Sea. Mine struck. The Saudi-led coalition blamed Yemen’s Houthi rebels for the attack.
Iran will inevitably be suspected of being the mastermind behind this incident, especially because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) recently threatened to take retaliation if Iran encounters a threat. Moreover, whenever Saudi Arabia was attacked by the Houthis in the past, Iran was considered to be the one behind it.
The Houthis have previously threatened ships in Saudi waters with mines. In September 2019, the Houthi armed forces claimed to have attacked Saudi oil and gas facilities, causing Saudi output to be cut in half and crude oil prices to soar briefly. At that time, the United Nations concluded that the missiles used by the Houthi armed forces may have come from Iran.
Dryad Global said that if Monday’s tanker explosion was the work of the Houthis, it would indicate a “shift in operational capabilities and intentions” in the group “. The Houthi armed forces have previously used missiles and drones to launch attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia. Munro Anderson, a partner at the company, said: “This attack may be intended to cause panic in the international shipping industry and thereby affect Saudi Arabia’s commercial interests.”
Since 2014, The Houthis have been fighting the United Nations-backed Yemeni government. Starting in 2015, the Saudi-led coalition began to intervene to support the Yemeni government. The United States, a Saudi ally, has also heightened tensions by tightening sanctions on Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war.
Although the damage caused by Monday’s explosion was minimal, the incident renewed concerns about the stability of the region and pushed Brent crude oil prices above $50 per barrel. The Saudi Press Agency stated that these actions threaten the security and stability of global energy supply.
The Red Sea is an important shipping channel for freight and global energy supplies, so any attack in the region would pose a threat to crude oil supplies not only to Saudi Arabia, but also to the rest of the world. United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, the Royal Navy’s liaison agency, advised ships in the Red Sea to take “extreme caution”.
However, the data intelligence company Kpler said in an interview with Gulf Intelligence, a well-known strategic research exchange organization in the Gulf region: “This is an isolated incident, and we do not need to make too many changes about it. Change or change our actions. We will continue to see these types of incidents, but their impact will be limited.”</p