External source causes oil tanker explosion in Saudi Arabia

External source causes oil tanker explosion in Saudi Arabia

A Singapore-flagged oil tanker has been hit by an unidentified “external source” that caused a fire and explosion on Monday.

The ship, the BW Rhine, was discharging at Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia when the incident happened.

“The impact caused an explosion and subsequent fire onboard,” its owners Hafnia said in a statement.

The ship’s crew put out the fire and no-one was injured, the company added, although parts of the hull are damaged.

“It is possible that some oil has escaped from the vessel, but this has not been confirmed and instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident,” Hafnia said.

The BW Rhine has a capacity of 60,000-80,000 tonnes of oil, according to Hafnia and shipping data on Refinitiv. It was 84% full when the incident happened, according to its draft.

Jeddah is a key Red Sea port and distribution centre for oil giant Saudi Aramco.

The incident comes after an explosion last month rocked a Greek-operated oil tanker docked at Saudi Arabia’s southern port of Shuqaiq, an attack that a Riyadh-led military coalition blamed on Yemen’s Huthi rebels.

Aramco said that strike tore a hole in an oil tank, triggering an explosion and fire.

The attacks underscores the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar oil infrastructure.

The country is stuck in a military quagmire in Yemen, which has been locked in conflict since the rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014 and went on to seize much of the north.

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