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Tanker explosion in Yemen-sea mine or IED attack suspected

Marjan Stropnik / MarineTraffic

PortandTerminal.com, October 9, 2020

ADEN, YEMEN – There are reports that an Aframax tanker, the Maltese flagged SYRA, may have hit a mine off the coast of Yemen on October 3rd. The incident is believed to be an act of sabotage carried out by one of Yemen’s warring groups.

A number of suspicious floating objects were reported to have drifted towards the tanker it it was loading its cargo. One or two of these objects – assessed as likely to have been floating IEDs or sea mines – later exploded in proximity to the tanker.

Commenting on the incident, security consultant Ambrey Intelligence said that it could be a result of the ongoing battle between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council.

The explosion occurred at Hush Al Nishaimah oil terminal, Yemen, Gulf of Aden, at 2000 UTC Oct 3, at the time when Aframax tanker SYRA was loading crude oil, reported the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO).

The tanker is reported to have been damaged — pollution/oil has been spotted in satellite images.

The “time bomb” FSO Safer

The FSO Safer, an oil storage tanker abandoned 5 years ago due to fighting in Yemen, holds 1.1 million barrels of crude oil
The FSO Safer, an oil storage tanker abandoned 5 years ago due to fighting in Yemen, holds 1.1 million barrels of crude oil

All of this occurs against the backdrop of growing global concern over the abandoned Yemeni oil tanker FSO SAFER, currently anchored off the coast of Yemen.

The vessel, which many call a floating “time bomb”, is holding about 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and has been left without maintenance for over five years. Images taken of the vessel show that the ship is deteriorating rapidly. Experts say that the FSO SAFER could cause an environmental catastrophe “four times worse than the Exxon Valdez” spill in 1989.

Image of oil tanker.

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