Oil tanker BW Rhine has been damaged by an explosion in the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The explosion was allegedly caused by an ‘external source’, reports shipping company Hafnia.

The company reports that a fire also broke out on board the 228.60-metre long ship with a cargo capacity of 80,591 m3. The master immediately ceased all discharge operations and enacted emergency procedures on board. The crew have extinguished the fire with assistance from the shore fire brigade and tug boats. No one was injured, according to Hafnia. However, parts of the hull were damaged. The company did not go into detail about the exact cause of the explosion.

It is still unclear whether oil leaked into the sea, but Hafnia states ‘instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident’. Cooling procedures and inerting of cargo space have been initiated to avoid reignition of fire. Ship stability is being assessed before proceeding with any further operations.

It would not be the first attack on the oil sector in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities have in the past held Houthi rebels from neighbouring Yemen responsible for attacks on tankers and infrastructure. Jeddah is known as an important distribution centre of oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Source: ANP

Picture: One of Hafnia’s tankers (by Hafnia).