12/15/2020, 10.40
SAUDI ARABIA
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Riyadh says Red Sea oil tanker explosion a ‘terrorist attack’

Yesterday morning a ship packed with explosives rammed an oil tanker off the port of Jeddah. No casualties or injuries among the 22 sailors on board. Possible spill of crude oil into the sea. There are currently no official claims, but Saudi suspicions converge on Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A ship packed with explosives reportedly rammed - but the news is still fragmentary and there are no official confirmations - the oil tanker which blew up yesterday morning at the port of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.

According to a source from the Ministry of Energy, relaunched by the official news agency Spa, it was a "terrorist attack", the latest in a long series against strategic infrastructures and plants of the Wahhabi kingdom.

Initial reports suggest that there are victims or injuries and there have been no interruptions in oil or fuel supplies. In an official communication, the Hafnia shipping company, owner of the affected vessel, reports that all 22 sailors aboard the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine are in good health. However, it is not excluded that crude oil may have leaked from the site of the explosion and spilled into the sea.

Yesterday's explosion occurred just three weeks after the attack on another oil tanker, possibly hit by a mine at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq. The Houthi rebels in Yemen also claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a fuel depot of the Saudi national airline Aramco in Jeddah.

There are currently no official claims of yesterday’s attack. However, the suspicions of the leaders of the Saudi kingdom are directed at the Houthis, who in the last period have intensified attacks and reprisals against Saudi targets - particularly in the energy sector - in response to the long-standing military campaign by Riyadh in Yemen.

The port of Jeddah is a strategic distribution center for the Saudi oil giant Aramco, which has triggered the alert of many international operators in the sector. United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (Ukmto) has invited its vessels present in the area to implement a system of "extreme vigilance".

Other consequences of the explosion include the movements of prices in the oil market. Yesterday, after a positive start to the day, the indices recorded a trend reversal with Brent at $ 49.51 (-0.98%) and Light crude recording a minus 1.27% at $ 45.95.  OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) has reduced projections for global fuel consumption in the first quarter of 2021 by one million barrels per day, compared to the previous forecast.

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