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Oil tanker hit by blast at Saudi terminal, Saudi Arabia confirms

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.

Reuters , Wednesday 25 Nov 2020
MT Agrari tanker
The Greece-based firm TMS Tankers later confirmed that its MT Agrari tanker had suffered a blast one metre above the waterline, tearing a hole in its hull (Photo: TMS Tanker Limited)
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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.

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.

British maritime security company Ambrey said earlier that the Maltese-flagged 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 Nov. 23.

A TMS company source told Reuters: "I can't confirm what exactly the cause was. It is possible [that it was from a mine], certainly it was a blast. We have nobody injured, there is no spill or pollution. The ship is in good condition, everyone is ok."

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.

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

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

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.

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 explicitly deny the attack, but said in a tweet that any military or security operations are announced through military and security establishments officially.

On Tuesday the coalition said it had destroyed five Houthi-laid mines in the Red Sea.

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