Arab coalition blocks Arabian Sea tanker attack

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


In this file photo from October 2002, Yemeni coastguards patrol in front of stricken French supertanker Limburg, still ablaze and leaking crude, as it is towed out into the Arabian Sea. The vessel was attacked by a small boat loaded with explosives off the south-eastern Yemeni port of al-Mukalla. [Khaled Fazaa/AFP]

Arab coalition forces in Yemen on Tuesday (March 3rd) thwarted an attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea, a coalition spokesman said Wednesday.

"Coalition forces on Tuesday thwarted an imminent terrorist attack targeting an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea, some 90 nautical miles south-east of the port of Nishtun" in al-Mahrah province, said coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki.

"Four boats tried to attack the tanker as it sailed towards the Gulf of Aden and to blow it up using a remote-controlled explosives-laden boat," he said.

"The threat to global energy security, international trade and maritime routes has become a major issue, with the expansion of terrorist threats to the southern Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb strait and Gulf of Aden," he said.

These threats extend to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, al-Maliki added.

"The coalition's Joint Command will continue to implement the necessary measures to neutralise any marine threat in the coalition's area of operations," he said.

Meanwhile, the Joint Command urged international partners to co-ordinate efforts to neutralise threats to global security.

Houthis are likely perpetrators

On February 23rd, Arab coalition forces thwarted a similar attack attempted by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah), destroying a remote-controlled explosives-laden boat in the southern Red Sea.

Around the same time, a military convoy of Arab coalition and special operations forces came under attack as they were en route to the Shahn border crossing with Oman in eastern Yemen's al-Mahrah province.

Arab coalition forces have deployed in the Shahn crossing area in order to crack down on the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.

Political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq that the Tuesday incident appears to be connected to the Arab coalition's recent crackdown on Iran's proxies by closing their weapons supply line in al-Mahrah.

"The incident is a reaction to the Arab coalition forces' control of al-Mahrah province and the smuggling routes through which weapons used to be delivered to the Houthis," he said.

It is likely the Houthis were behind the Tuesday incident, he added, as the modus operandi and weapons involved were similar to the previous attack which Arab coalition forces thwarted in the Red Sea.

"The Houthis are trying to undermine the security of international maritime routes to harm regional economic interests, especially Saudi economic interests," he said.

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This is outright nonsense without any shame! Those who are supposed to protect it are stealing from it.