Oil tanker explosion off Saudi Arabia caused by “outside force” | World news

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An explosion on an oil tanker in the Red Sea occurred after it was struck by “an outside force,” a shipping company said.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight on Monday off Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The 22 crew members of the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine all escaped unharmed, shipowners Hafnia said in a statement.

A fire broke out after the explosion, but it was extinguished with the help of shore-based firefighters and tugs.

The hull was damaged and oil may have escaped from the vessel, the statement added.

It happens less than a month after the departure of an oil tanker Saudi Arabia was damaged by a mine in an attack blamed on the authorities Yemen The Houthi rebels.

The insurgents, who have previously used sea mines in their long war against a Saudi-led coalition, have not commented.

Last month, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a fuel distribution center in the same city.

Monday’s explosion was confirmed by the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is part of the Royal Navy, and Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence company.

UKMTO said this happened just southwest of the port of Jeddah, near the ship anchors in the area.

The agency urged neighboring ships to exercise caution and said investigations were ongoing.

Neither Saudi Arabia’s state media nor the US Navy patrolling the region acknowledged it, but financial markets reacted with the price of Brent rising 1% – above $ 50 the barrel.

According to the vessel tracking website MarineTraffic.com, at least two tankers were nearby, but their owners could not be immediately reached.

Earlier in December, another apparent explosion targeted a cargo ship off the small port town of Nishtun in far eastern Yemen.

Dryad Global said if it was the Houthis behind Monday’s blast, it “would represent a fundamental shift in targeting capabilities and intent.”

The Red Sea has already been mined. In 1984, some 19 ships reported striking mines there, with only one ever being recovered and disarmed, according to the UN.

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