February 25, 2021

Saudi reports fire at oil terminal after Huthi boats intercepted

Photo credit: The martitime executive

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – A fire broke out at an offshore Saudi oil terminal after two explosives-laden boats launched by Yemen’s Huthi rebels were intercepted by Saudi-led troops, the energy ministry said Friday.

The “limited fire” at a terminal off the southern province of Jizan caused no casualties, a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Two boats rigged with explosives

The fire erupted after the coalition on Wednesday intercepted and destroyed two boats rigged with explosives, which were launched by the Iran-aligned rebels.

“The operation, which occurred in close proximity to a floating offloading platform that belongs to the Jizan oil products terminal, resulted in a limited fire on the platform’s floating hoses,” the ministry said.

“The fire has been dealt with according to the rules.”

Yemen is mired in civil war between the Huthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, and a beleaguered internationally recognised government supported by the Saudi-led coalition.

The Huthi rebels have stepped up attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, mainly targeting southern provinces along their shared border.

Repeatedly accused Iran

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Huthis, a charge Tehran denies.

The attack highlights the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure as the war grinds on.

In September 2019, attacks on the Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield temporarily halved the kingdom’s crude output and caused turmoil on global energy markets.

The United States and Saudi Arabia held Iran responsible for those attacks.

Such criminal acts directed against vital facilities do not target the kingdom alone

After the latest assault, the ministry said “such criminal acts directed against vital facilities do not target the kingdom alone, but also the security of oil exports, the stability of energy supplies to the world”.

The coalition, which is backed by Western powers including the US, intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 as the rebels closed in on its last toehold in the south.

Despite its superior firepower, the coalition has struggled to oust the rebels from their northern strongholds, including Sanaa.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

© Agence France-Presse

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