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The telegraph

Explosive loaded boat caused tanker explosion in “terrorist attack” off Saudi Arabia: State media

A “terrorist attack” on an oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jeddah was caused by a boat loaded with explosives yesterday after the fourth attack on Saudi energy infrastructure in a month, the kingdom’s energy ministry said. The BW Rhine marked under Singapore was hit “by an external source” when it was delivering refined oil products in Jeddah at around 4:00 a.m. local time on Monday, said ship owner Hafnia in a statement. A spokesman for the Saudi energy ministry failed to identify who was behind the attack, but the kingdom has blamed other recent attacks on Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. “Acts of terror against vital facilities go beyond the kingdom and are aimed at the security and stability of the global energy supply and the global economy,” said a statement by the ministry. The port of Jeddah, the UK’s main shipping hub, has been closed for an indefinite period after the incident, according to UK maritime trade. “The incident resulted in no losses, and there was no damage to the unloading facilities or any impact on the supply,” said the ministry spokesman. The 22 crew members on board were able to put out a fire caused by the explosion, Hafnia said. “It is possible that some oil has leaked from the ship,” the statement said. “However, this has not been confirmed and the instrumentation is currently showing that the oil level on board is at the same level as it was before the incident.” The ship reportedly carried over 60,000 tons of unleaded gasoline from an Aramco refinery in Yanbu for consumption in Saudi Arabia. Monday’s explosion followed a number of other incidents in the Red Sea, a major shipping route for oil and cargo. On November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged at the Saudi terminal in Shuqaiq south of Jeddah, which the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen described as a foiled terrorist attack. Days earlier, Houthi rebels took responsibility for a rocket attack on an Aramco terminal in Jeddah that pierced a diesel tank and started a fire. Since Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen War in support of the internationally recognized government in 2015, the Iran-backed Houthis have carried out numerous rocket attacks and other attacks on Saudi Arabia, according to the United Nations that the missiles deployed are likely come from Iran. In November, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition also reported that it had intercepted an exploit sive-laden drone and several explosive-laden boats fired towards the kingdom by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia recently accused the rebels of laying mines in the southern Red Sea. Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence company, said if the Houthis were responsible for Monday’s explosion, it would “represent a fundamental shift in both targeting capabilities and intentions.”

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