Oil tanker hit by blast at Saudi terminal, Saudi Arabia confirms

Red Sea

The blast happened early Wednesday and struck the MT Agrari, a Maltese-flagged, Greek-managed oil tanker near Shuqaiq, Saudi Arabia.

"The Agrari was struck about one meter above the waterline and has suffered a breach", TMS Tankers said in a statement.

According to global reports, it was struck about one meter above the waterline and suffered a breach. Crew are safe, no pollution has been reported, and the ship itself is stable, according to the statement, which was distributed by MTI Network for TMS Tankers Ltd.

"At this stage we don't know if this is a case of a sea-mine striking the vessel or whether this is a direct attack", said Munro Anderson, a partner at maritime-security firm Dryad Global, adding that old mines are still present in the Red Sea.

An investigation was underway after Saudi authorities, including the coast guard, boarded the stricken vessel, it added.

At this point it is not known yet when the Agrari will be able to sail again, but it is expected it that necessary repairs could take some time to complete as the damage was extensive.

Houthi officials didn't say they were involved in Wednesday's incident and offered no explanation for what might have happened.

So far, it remains unclear who was behind the attack.

The Agrari is a smaller Aframax crude oil tanker, data on TMS Tankers website showed.

The Houthis fired a missile at a Saudi Aramco fuel depot in Jeddah, the kingdom's second-biggest city, on Monday morning.

Two weeks ago, a fire near a floating platform belonging to the Jazan oil products terminal was contained with no injuries.

The Saudi-led coalition reported Tuesday that it removed and destroyed five Iranian-made naval mines planted by the Houthis in the southern Red Sea, condemning the attempted attacks as posing "a serious threat to maritime security in the Bab al-Mandab strait".

The commercial vessel was damaged by shrapnel from the "booby-trapped boat", the coalition was quoted as saying by the Saudi state-run Al-Ekhbariya television.

It slammed the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen for threatening worldwide marine trade routes.

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