A shipping firm says the explosion on a tanker at a live port in Saudi Arabia was caused by the ship’s “collision with an external source”.
The Singapore-flagged BW Rhine saw all 22 sailors flee without injury, the BW group said in a statement. The company warned that some oil could leak from the blast site.
Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to the blast, which ripped through a key port and distribution center for its oil trade. Last month, a mine damaged another Arab tanker in an attack that authorities blamed on Yemen’s Hoti rebels.
The maritime intelligence firm Droid Global also reported the blast. No one immediately offered a reason.
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols Midest, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a Saudi Arabian airliner. Earlier this month, another mysterious attack targeted a cargo ship in the small Yemeni port city of Nishantun.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Hothi rebels have used seawater before launching their long war against the Saudi-led coalition. However, the elephants have not commented on last month’s attack.
Dry Global said that if it was the elephant behind Monday’s blast, it would “represent a fundamental shift in both targeting capability and intent.”
The Red Sea is an important shipping lane for both cargo and global energy supply, making any mining in the region a threat not only to Saudi Arabia but to the rest of the world. The mines can enter the water and then be carried by the currents that change with the weather in the Red Sea.
Red Sea mining has already taken place. According to a UN committee of experts investigating the war in Yemen, in 1984 some 19 aircraft reported explosions there, of which only one was recovered and disarmed.
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