…As Amnesty slams EU states over reported arms shipment to Saudi Arabia***
Four tankers were sabotaged off the port of Fujairah over the weekend, according to officials in the UAE.
The vessels include two Saudi tankers, identified by Reuters as the Amjad and the Al Marzoqah; the Thome Group-managed, Norwegian-flagged Andrea Victory; and a UAE-based bunker barge, the A Michel.
Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said that the Saudi vessels sustained “significant” damage, but did not decribe the nature of the attack. Photos of the Andrea Victory show a large gash on her transom, right at the waterline. Thome has confirmed that the Victory’s crew are unharmed and that the vessel’s stability is not compromised.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy said that the attacks on the Saudi tankers occurred at 0600 hours on Sunday. “One of the two vessels was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, to be delivered to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the United States. Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels,” the minister said.
In a statement to state-owned media, the Saudi foreign ministry described the attacks were a “dangerous threat to the safety of navigation and [affect] negatively regional and international security.”
Meanwhile, European countries have failed the test by allowing a reported arms shipment to Saudi Arabia in spite of its involvement in the Yemen war, Amnesty International charged on Monday.
According to a UN report 2018, both a Saudi-led military coalition and its enemies, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, may have committed war crimes by repeatedly attacking civilians during the conflict.
According to marine tracking websites, Saudi cargo ship the Bahri Yanbu set sail from the Spanish port of Santander on Monday, heading for Genoa in Italy.
It loaded a cargo of arms during an earlier stop in Belgium, news agency Belga reported recently, before heading to Britain.
The ship cancelled a scheduled stop in the French port of Le Havre on Friday, after activists protested against its arrival and a French rights group unsuccessfully sought an urgent injunction preventing a planned arms shipment.
UN rights experts in 2018 blamed the Saudi-led coalition for most of the Yemen war’s documented civilian casualties.
They noted that coalition forces had bombed medical facilities, markets, residential areas, weddings and funerals, prisons, and fishing boats.
“Laden with arms that will likely be used in the war in Yemen, the Bahri Yanbu has been bouncing off European ports like a pinball,’’ Amnesty official Ara Marcen Naval said in a statement.
Marcen Naval said that the shipment was a “serious test” of EU countries’ commitments under the Arms Trade Treaty, adding several states have failed this test in the space of just a few days.
Additional report from Maritime Executive