Saudi Arabia said it destroyed a bomb-laden boat in the Red Sea near the refinery hub of Yanbu Tuesday.
The Defense Ministry said the vessel was remotely controlled and spotted at 6:40 a.m. local time. An investigation is ongoing, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Earlier, the U.K. Maritime Trade Operations, linked to the Royal Navy, said it was looking into “reports of an incident” approximately two nautical miles off the coast of Yanbu.
The National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia, known as Bahri, denied reports that one of its vessels, the NCC Dammam, had been attacked. All the firm’s ships are safe, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Al Dubaikhi said in a phone interview.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast experienced a spate of shipping attacks and explosions late last year, some of which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthis rebels.
Read: Yemen Houthis Claim More Attacks on Saudi Aramco’s Oil Sites
The Houthis, battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war, also claimed to have targeted Yanbu, home to a Saudi Aramco oil refinery, last month with drones and missiles. That attack, like most of those claimed by the Houthis, caused little damage.
Reporting indicates that a Containership has been attacked 185nm SSW Bayelsa State. Further updates to follow.
A skiff approached MV Rosa within 5 cables for 45 minutes but failed to come alongside.
The ongoing blockage of the Suez Canal has resulted in ships diverting south to transit around the Cape of Good Hope, potentially taking them through the High Risk Area. It is noted that whilst the threat of Somalia-based piracy is currently suppressed through a combination of military operations, application of BMP 5 and the presence of armed guards, an increase in maritime traffic through the area may present opportunities for Somali Pirate Groups to attack shipping. The consequences of not adopting effective security measures can be severe.
Noting this threat, shipping companies are reminded of the importance of applying BMP 5 to ensure that the voyage is fully risk assessed and that ships are hardened against the security threats in the region. Similarly, it is recommended that ships rerouting southwards should route north-east of Socotra before turning South and that where possible, should maintain a safe distance from the Somali coastline in accordance with the risk assessment.
Furthermore, it is stressed that all ships in the region should register with MSCHOA and report to UKMTO as outlined in BMP 5, to ensure they are visible to the military assets deployed in the region which can assist in cases of piracy, and to ensure that they will be alerted to any threats or incidents.
It should be noted that security threats also exist in the Mozambique Channel, and these should also be factored into the risk assessment.
Consideration should also be given to the piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea, for ships transiting along the Western African Coast. It is strongly recommended that a threat and risk assessment is conducted for such voyages, and that ships apply BMP West Africa to the fullest extent.
The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi forces has destroyed two explosive-laden boats that the Iran-aligned group planned to use in an “imminent” attack launched from the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Saudi state media reported on Sunday.
The coalition in separate statements also said it intercepted and destroyed three armed drones launched towards southern Saudi Arabia, including the city of Khamis Mushait.
The Houthis, who ousted Yemen’s internationally recognised government from the capital, Sanaa, and now hold most of north Yemen, have kept up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia after Riyadh last week presented a new peace initiative.
U.S. Special Envoy Tim Lenderking on Thursday returned to the region to push for the initiative, which includes a nationwide ceasefire.
The Houthis want the coalition to fully lift its sea and air blockade on areas the group controls.
The conflict, seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has caused what the United Nations says is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
A vessel reported being approached at 26°20’ N 56° 01’ E (21nm North of port Mina Saqr) by a small grey boat with three (3) POB wearing masks. Vessel and crew are safe
An MT was boarded. All crew remained safe in citadel awaiting nearby patrol vessel. At 12:43 UTC the vessel was under escort. Incident completed. Vessel and crew are safe.
Barendrecht, The Netherlands, March 12, 2021 – De Poli Shipmanagement report that following an attack by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa fifteen crewmembers have been taken from its chemical tanker DAVIDE B. Six other seafarers of the vessel are safe and unhurt and remain on board of the ship which is currently attended by security personnel that have arrived on scene. DAVIDE B came under attack whilst sailing some 210 nautical miles south of Cotonou, Benin.
De Poli Shipmanagement are greatly concerned about the attack on its vessel and seafarers. The company’s main priority now is to establish contact with the missing crew in order to secure their earliest and safe release. De Poli Shipmanagement’s Emergency Response Team are liaising with all relevant authorities who have been notified immediately after the incident which occurred at appx. 15.00 UTC on Thursday. The company are in close contact with the families of the seafarers to support them in this extremely difficult time.
DAVIDE B is a 2016 built chemical tanker which was on a commercial voyage from Riga, Latvia to Lagos, Nigeria. The vessel is flying the Maltese flag.
For the time being De Poli Shipmanagement will not be providing any further information in order not to jeopardize the safety of those involved.
UPDATE 0250 UTC Mar 12: AIS is still off, Nigerian offshore supply ship QUA IBOE RIVER (IMO 9246360) is nearby.
Product tanker DAVIDE B was attacked and boarded by armed pirates at around 1515 UTC Mar 11 in Gulf of Guinea some 220 nm south of Lagos Nigeria, while en route from Riga Latvia to Lagos. All crew mustered in citadel, and understood, are awaiting assistance. Ship’s AIS is off since the time pirates boarded tanker. Awaiting further updates, as of 0030 UTC Mar 12 situation is unclear.
Tanker manager De Poli Shipmanagemen issued an official Statement:
Shipmanagement Statement MT DAVIDE B attack
Barendrecht, The Netherlands, March 11, 2021 – De Poli Shipmanagement report that today at appx 15.00 UTC its managed chemical tanker DAVIDE B came under attack of pirates some 210 nautical miles south of Cotonou, Benin.
Meanwhile contact has been established with the crew of the vessel who have taken shelter in the citadel of the ship. All relevant authorities have been informed and are attending to the situation.
De Poli Shipmanagement would like to stress the safety and wellbeing of the seafarers on board is a prime concern to the company.
An MT has been boarded by 9 armed individuals 213nm South Cotonou. Incident ongoing.
Overnight on 10th March 2021, a robbery occurred on board an MV in Luanda anchorage, Angola. The ship and crew reported to be safe