Blast hits off coast Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia
An explosion rocked a Singapore-flagged oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jeddah Monday, the vessel's owner said, in the latest apparent strike on energy sector targets in the kingdom.
All 22 sailors aboard the tanker BW Rhine escaped unhurt after the blast struck just after midnight, Singapore-based shipping company Hafnia said, but it did not exclude the possibility of an oil spill.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the alleged attack, but it comes as Iran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen step up cross-border strikes against Saudi targets in retaliation for a five-year military campaign led by Riyadh.
"BW Rhine has been hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah... causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard," Hafnia said in a statement, without specifying what struck the vessel.
"The crew have extinguished the fire with assistance from the shore fire brigade and tug boats, and all 22 seafarers have been accounted for with no injuries," it added.
Saudi authorities did not immediately confirm the blast off Jeddah, a key Red Sea port and distribution centre for oil giant Saudi Aramco. -APP/AFP