Splash247 reports that Bomb defusal experts successfully removed an explosive device stuck to the hull of a tanker near the Iraqi port of Al-Faw on Saturday, the latest in a series of mine scares hitting tanker shipping in the Middle East.
The mine was discovered on Thursday on Dynacom’s Pola suezmax leading to the crew being evacuated.
The ship was being used by Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization as floating storage for high sulphur fuel oil. It was transferring fuel to another ship when the mine was detected.
Splash has reported on a number of mine incidents in recent months, with security experts often linking the attacks to Houthi rebels from Yemen.
Dryad Reporting indicates that the Liberian flagged MT POLA (IMO9493767) has identified the presence of a suspicious object attached to the vessel hull whilst conducting StS 6nm South Al Bakr Terminal offshore Iraq.
Further reporting indicates that the object is suspected to be a limpet mine. The crew and vessel are understood to be safe at this time.
Whilst details remain unclear it it is unknown whether the device found was viable and thus failed to explode or was placed as a ‘dry run’.
The MT POLA can be seen to have been in position where the Mine was found since the 27th December 20, however it remains unclear when the device was placed. Additional reporting indicates that a second vessel the M/T NORDIC FREEDOM is understood to have assisted the POLA in obtaining pictures of the device.
This latest incident follows a spate of incidents within the Red Sea where vessels were targeted by similar devices and WBIED at the Saudi Ports of Al Shuquaiq and Jeddah.
Regional tensions remain fraught with uncertainty remaining around the future strategic position of the US within the region post Trump. In addition recent increases in US military activity and rhetoric have led to a heightened posture within Iran.
With anniversary of the death of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani approaching the corresponding risk within the region to all vessels is assessed to be SUBSTANTIAL. All vessels are encouraged to operate at a heightened posture of vigilance whilst at anchor and in transit and are reminded to report all suspicious activity to UKMTO.