Attack on Saudi oil tanker MV Abqaiq Report
On Tuesday 3rd April a loaded Saudi oil tanker, MV Abqaiq, carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude came under attack in the southern Red Sea, approximately 48nm WSW of Hodiedah port, Yemen. Initial reports detailed an explosion had taken place. Soon after the Iranian aligned Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack citing that it was in response to raids earlier in the week on Hodiedah which killed a number of civilians. Saudi Arabia considers the attack on MV Abqaiq an act of terror.
Photographs of attack appear to show that the tanker was holed above the waterline, with the ordinance likely having penetrated the outer hull. While an explosion was reported, the paint surrounding the entry hole displays little evidence of a significant explosion occurring on the hull. It is a possibility that the ordinance is unexploded within the hull of the tanker.
A number of successful and failed attacks have been seen in the southern Red Sea and Bab al Mandeb in the last 2 years on both military and commercial vessels. All targeted commercial vessels have been either loaded oil/product tankers or LNG carriers, however this is the first attack on a commercial vessel claimed by the Houthi’s. The previous attacks on the commercial vessels LNGC Galicia Spirit and MT Muskie are thought to have been attempts by AQAP.