The commercial ocean shipping industry has received a warning about the potential dangers of transiting through the Southern Red Sea after the European Union’s Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) confirmed an attack on a tanker.
EU NAVFOR stated that Merchant Tanker (MT) Abqaiq, a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flagged vessel, was the victim of an attack in the Southern Red Sea on April 3, 2018, linking it to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
A report by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organisation (below) has revealed that the tanker reported an explosion.
The multi-national naval partnership Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and EU NAVFOR have issued a threat assessment through the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which monitors vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden, but has so far reported no further activity related to the incident.
EU NAVFOR, which released limited details about the nature of the aggression towards the ship, confirmed that the vessel was able to continue operating after the incident and that the crew are “safe and unharmed”.
CMF and EU NAVFOR have a number maritime and aviation assets currently in the region and will continue to maintain presence in the area.
Both are continuing to work with allies and regional partners in the Southern Red Sea and beyond.
In a statement on the incident, EU NAVFOR, which serves as a counter measure against piracy at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean, said: “The requirement for vigilance when transiting this area, together with the timely reporting of all suspicious incidents, remains crucial.
“Military organisations often request imagery to be taken during any incident and when safe to do so.
“This should then be sent to MSCHOA and / or UKMTO.
“A detailed description of vessels, objects, and behaviours observed are vital contributors to the analysis and assessment of the threat environment.
“Reports should endeavour to provide as much factual detail as possible and avoid speculating when only limited information is available.”