'External source' Causes Explosion, Fire on Oil Tanker in Saudi Arabia
Shipping company Hafnia said on Monday that one of its oil tankers, the BW Rhine, had been hit by an unidentified "external source" that caused an explosion and a fire while the ship was discharging at Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on its website that investigations into an explosion involving a tanker were underway, and that Jeddah's port was closed for an unknown duration.
"BW Rhine has been hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at approximately 00:40 local time on 14 December 2020, causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard," Hafnia said in a statement on its website.
The ship's crew put out the fire and no-one was injured, the company said, adding that parts of the ship's hull had been damaged.
"It is possible that some oil has escaped from the vessel, but this has not been confirmed and instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident," Hafnia said.
The BW Rhine, owned and operated by Hafnia, is a Singapore-flagged tanker with capacity to carry 60,000-80,000 tonnes of light and middle distillate oil products, according to Hafnia and shipping data on Refinitiv.
The tanker loaded about 60,000 tonnes of gasoline from Yanbu port on Dec. 6, the data showed. It is currently 84% full, according to its draft.
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi in Dubai; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Kenneth Maxwell, and Catherine Evans)