BW Rhine, a Singapore-flagged LR1 product tanker belonging to the fleet of Hafnia, has been hit from an “external source” whilst discharging at Jeddah just after midnight today, according to a release from the BW subsidiary. The “external source” caused an explosion and subsequent fire onboard.
This is likely the third mine incident to hit tanker operations in the region in the space of two months with Houthi militia from Yemen strongly linked to this series of mine attacks. UK security consultant Dryad Global, however, pointed out that the Jeddah location of this latest attack is a long way from previous Houthi sea attacks, and this explosion could have been the work of the Iranians.
The master of the BW Rhine immediately ceased all discharge operations and enacted emergency procedures onboard. 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.
Hull damage has occurred at water ballast tank five on the port side and cargo tank four on the port side.
“It is possible that some oil has escaped from the vessel, but this has not been confirmed and instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident,” a release from Hafnia stated.
Cooling procedures and inerting of cargo space have been initiated to avoid reignition of the fire. Ship stability is being assessed before proceeding with any further operations.