Middle EastOperationsPiracyTankers

Saudi halts tanker shipments through Bab al-Mandeb after Bahri VLCCs are targeted

Saudi Arabia said today it is “temporarily halting” all oil shipments through the Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two Bahri VLCCs by Yemen’s Houthi movement.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that Houthis had attacked two Saudi VLCCs in the Red Sea on Wednesday morning, one of which sustained minimal damage.

“Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe,” the statement said.

The names of the targeted tankers have not been revealed. There were no injuries or oil spill from the attack. Efforts are currently underway to move the damaged ship to the nearest Saudi port.

An estimated 4.8m barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products flowed through Bab al-Mandeb in 2016, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

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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