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Saudi tanker in Red Sea incident: Eunavfor

03 Apr 2018 17:01 (+01:00 GMT)
Saudi tanker in Red Sea incident: Eunavfor

London, 3 April (Argus) — A Saudi-owned very large crude carrier (VLCC) was involved in an incident in the southern Red Sea earlier today, EU naval force Eunavfor said.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said a Saudi tanker was fired upon off the Yemeni port of Hudaydah, north of the Bab al-Mandab strait, according to the semi-official Saudi news agency al-Arabiya.

The 2002-built Abqaiq is underway, heading north and is scheduled to reach Ain Sukhna — which is connected via the Sumed pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Sidi Kerir — on 7 April. The crew are safe and unharmed.

Eunavfor said the nature of the incident is still under investigation, but urged vigilance in the area. An unidentified tanker was fired upon in the Gulf of Aden on 31 March, according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau, but the attackers withdrew after armed guards on board returned fire.

Following a number of violent incidents in the waters off Yemen, a coalition of 31 nations established in September last year a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) to protect merchant shipping through the Gulf of Aden, the Bab al-Mandab strait, the Southern Red Sea and associated waters. In January three shipping associations — Bimco, the International Chamber of Shipping and Intertanko — issued guidance for the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb areas, stating ships are at risk of either collateral damage or being deliberately targeted, as well as the pre-existing risk of piracy.