Middle East

Likely bunker spill detected from Bahri VLCC attacked off Fujairah

Satellite imagery analysed by TankerTrackers.com points towards a bunker spill from one of the four ships targeted off Fujairah waters on May 12.

The images posted on social media of the Amjad, a VLCC belonging to Saudi Arabia’s Bahri, suggest bunker fuel spilled from the ship’s stern for at least four days after the attacks.

TankerTrackers.com is an independent online service that tracks and reports shipments and storage of crude oil in several geographical and geopolitical areas of interest.

“Based on several days of satellite imagery, we believe we are looking at a possible fuel oil spill coming out of the Saudi VLCC supertanker, Amjad. It covered roughly 37 sq km on May 16, just four days after the purported sabotage events,” Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, told Splash today.

All four tankers that were attacked suffered hits to their sterns below the waterline with gashes in their hulls between 2 to 3 m across.

Sources at Fujairah port have yet to confirm the bunker spill. Pointedly last week a press delegation was taken to see three of the four stricken ships. The one vessel the press did not get to see was the Amjad.

TankerTrackers.com estimates at least 235 barrels of bunker fuel spilled from the Bahri VLCC, which was not carrying any cargo when it was attacked nine days ago.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the four tankers which were hit likely by limpet mines or underwater drones.

In the wake of the attacks, the Joint War Committee of the London marine insurance market has extended the list of waters deemed as high risk to include Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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