Iran's president says country would rejoin nuclear deal within an hour of US signing on

The Telegraph

Explosive-laden boat caused tanker blast in ‘terrorist attack’ off Saudi: state media

An “terrorist attack” on an oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jeddah yesterday was caused by an explosive-laden boat, the kingdom’s energy ministry said, after the fourth assault on Saudi energy infrastructure in a month. The Singapore-flagged BW Rhine was hit “by an external source” while discharging refined oil products at Jeddah about 0400 on Monday local time, shipowner Hafnia said in a statement. A Saudi energy ministry spokesman did not identify who was behind the attack but the kingdom has blamed other recent attacks on Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen. “Terrorist acts against vital facilities go beyond the kingdom to target the security and stability of worldwide energy supplies and the global economy,” the ministry said in a statement. Jeddah port, the kingdom’s primary shipping point, was closed for an indeterminate duration following the incident, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. “The incident did not result in any casualties, and there was no damage caused to the unloading facilities, nor any effect on supplies,” the ministry spokesman said. The 22 crew aboard were able to extinguish a blaze caused by the blast, Hafnia said. “It is possible that some oil has escaped from the vessel,” its statement read. “But this has not been confirmed and instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident.” The vessel was reportedly carrying over 60,000 metric tons of unleaded gasoline from an Aramco refinery at Yanbu for consumption in Saudi Arabia. Monday’s blast followed a series of other recent incidents in the Red Sea, a vital shipping lane for both oil and cargo. On November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq, south of Jeddah, which the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen described as a foiled terror attack. Days earlier, Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a cruise missile strike on an Aramco fuel depot in Jeddah that punctured a diesel storage tank and ignited a fire. Since Saudi intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015 in support of the internationally recognised government, the Iran-backed Houthis have carried out numerous missile strikes and other attacks on Saudi Arabia. The United Nations has concluded that the missiles used likely originated in Iran. During November, the Saudi-led coalition also reported intercepting an explosive-laden drone and several explosive-laden boats launched towards the kingdom by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia recently accused the rebels of laying mines in the southern Red Sea. Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, said if the Houthis were responsible for Monday’s blast, it “would represent a fundamental shift in both targeting capabilities and intent.”

Read original article here.