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Explosion At Saudi Port Damages Oil Tanker

An explosion rocked a Singapore-flagged oil tanker at the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah, according to multiple media reports. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations website reported the incident without details on Sunday.

According to reports from today, the tanker was hit by an external source.

"BW Rhine has been hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah... causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard," the company that owns the tanker, Hafnia, said, as quoted by Arabian Business.

"The crew have extinguished the fire with assistance from the shore fire brigade and tug boats, and all 22 seafarers have been accounted for with no injuries," the company said, adding, "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."

If the explosion was indeed an attack, it would be the second in less than a month on Jeddah, which is a major industry hub for Saudi Arabia's oil industry. Some three weeks ago, the Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed a strike on an oil distribution center in Jeddah. The attack was followed by retaliatory strikes on Houthi locations from Saudi Arabia.

Last month Aramco also reported an attack on a tanker at another port, Shuqaiq, which Riyadh also blamed on the Houthis.

Oil facilities make the most popular attack targets for Houthis because of Saudi Arabia's dependence on the industry for its livelihood. One of the most crippling attacks so far, also claimed by the Houthis but blamed by the Saudis on Iran, occurred last year, in September, when missile strikes took an oil field and a processing plant temporarily offline, eliminating several million barrels in daily production capacity and pushing oil prices higher.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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