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.