Reports from maritime security consultants say a tanker loading crude oil from a Yemeni port has been hit by a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) sea mine
The 2010-built, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime-managed Aframax tanker Syra appears to be the latest victim of hostilities in the Middle East.
Maritime intelligence gathering and security communications group UKMTO Watchkeeper issued an advisory on 5 October, 2020.
"UKMTO is aware a MT has experienced a possible explosion at 032000ZOCT20 whilst operating at an oil terminal in position 1359.25N 04754.07E [13°59’25", 47°54’07"]. Investigations are ongoing," UKMTO’s incident description said, listing the vessel’s master as the source of the information.
UKMTO said the explosion was reported on 2 October 2020, and UKMTO Watchkeeper issued a notice for vessels transiting the area to exercise caution.
According to regional media reports, the vessel was loading crude oil at the Bir Ali single point mooring buoy in Yemen when an explosion occurred alongside the vessel.
The explosion was blamed on suspicious objects that were seen drifting toward the tanker, reportedly suspected to be floating IEDs, which have been found elsewhere in the region. No group or faction in the ongoing Yemeni civil war has claimed responsibility.
According to VesselsValue, in late July, Syra sailed for Das Island in the UAE from the Fujian Huadong Shipyard in China. After loading, the vessel then sailed for the Byco SPM in Pakistan to discharge.
It is unclear when Syra arrived at the Bir Ali SPM at the Al Nashima terminal, Yemen, but VesselsValue’s website lists Syra as having arrived at Fujairah under its own power on 4 October to transfer around 65,000 tonnes of cargo to another tanker before reportedly departing for repairs.