Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, November 30, 2020

Proxy Wars: Iran Sends a Message to the Saudis and Threatens World Oil Supplies Again

Nice coverage and assessment of an attack on an oil tanker at Ship Attacked in Saudi Arabian Red Sea:

An oil tanker came under attack while at a Saudi Arabian terminal in the Red Sea about 125 miles north of the country’s border with Yemen, according to the vessel’s owner.

The Agrari, a so-called Aframax-class vessel able to haul about 700,000 barrels of oil, was holed about 1 meter above the waterline in the incident, a statement distributed on behalf of the carrier’s owner said. The incident took place as the ship was preparing to leave a berth at the Shuqaiq facility, having finished unloading its cargo, it said.


“There’s definitely an uptick of attacks from the Yemen side of the border onto Saudi Arabia to try and attempt to send a signal that it’s not just in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf that Iran has the ability to undermine Saudi oil interests and naval activities,” said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at Eurasia Group, which advises clients on political risk.

More information from the International Business Times here:

The blast on the Maltese-flagged Agrari tanker follows a string of attacks by the Iran-linked rebels on Saudi oil infrastructure, highlighting the growing perils of a five-year military campaign led by the kingdom in Yemen.

The tanker was "attacked by an unknown source" while it was preparing to depart from the Red Sea port of Shuqaiq, its Greece-based operator TMS Tankers said, adding that no injuries were reported.

"The Agrari was struck about one meter above the waterline and has suffered a breach," TMS Tankers said in a statement.

"It has been confirmed that the crew are safe and there have been no injuries. No pollution has been reported."


But Wednesday's incident comes as the Iran-backed rebels step up attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

On Monday, the Huthi rebels said they struck a plant operated by energy giant Saudi Aramco in the western city of Jeddah with a Quds-2 missile.

The strike, which underscores the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia's infrastructure and the rebel's advancing arsenal, tore a hole in the roof of an oil tank, triggering an explosion and fire.

Earlier this month, a fire broke out at a Saudi oil terminal off the southern province of Jizan after two explosives-laden boats launched by the rebels were intercepted by the coalition, according to the kingdom's energy ministry.

On Tuesday, the coalition said it had destroyed five naval mines planted by the Huthis in the southern Red Sea, saying such tactics posed a "serious threat to maritime security".

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Huthis, a charge Tehran denies.

Saudi Arabia is stuck in a military quagmire in Yemen, which has been locked in conflict since Huthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014 and went on to seize much of the north.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to support the internationally recognised government, but the conflict that has shown no signs of abating.

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