Dryad Global received “unconfirmed reports” that an oil tanker – which could be the NCC Dammam – was attacked, the maritime security group said on Twitter today. There is still no immediate confirmation from the Saudi authorities.
According to Strategic Risk Consultancy MENA Twitter account, the incident happened at around 8am local time.
They tweeted: “For nearer three and a half hours the NCC DAMMAM has been showing the status of ‘Not Under Command’ on Marine Traffic.”
The UK Maritime Trade Operations also issued a warning notice following news of the oil tanker attack.
They confirmed the reports and said “investigations are ongoing”.
The term “vessel not under command” means a vessel that through some exceptional circumstance is unable to manoeuvre.
This means it is unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.
It is believed the vessel is owned by Saudia Arabia and was built in 2008.
One person on Twitter said the oil tanker “handles petroleum and chemical materials”.
According to Neptune P2P Group, the King Fahd Port are “transmitting a warning message” informing ships to be “vigilant”.
They wrote: “King Fahd Port control are transmitting a warning message on VHF CH 11 instructing ships to be vigilant and monitor the North and South entrance for suspicious small boat activity.
“It has been reported that an unidentified vessel may have suffered an explosion and black smoke has been spotted in the approaches to the South port entrance.
“The report of an explosion has yet to be confirmed by the port authorities but the sighting of black smoke has been verified by shipping awaiting entry to the port.”
More to follow…