Photo: Nissos Kea; Image by Okeanis Tankers

Okeanis gas-ready VLCC undamaged after drone explosions in Yemen

Nissos Kea, a recently delivered scrubber-fitted gas-ready crude carrier, managed to avoid damage after being targeted by explosions that took place on October 21 while the vessel was loading at an oil terminal in Ash Shihr in Yemen.

“In the afternoon of 21 October 2022, while the vessel had called for loading at the port of Ash Shihr in Yemen, there were two drone-driven explosions in close proximity. Neither explosion impacted the vessel. All crew is safe and unharmed. There was no damage to the vessel and no pollution,” Oslo-listed tanker company Okeanis Eco Tankers said.

“Accordingly, our master sailed the vessel from the loading port and she is now in international waters.”

The vessel is said to be heading for Oman, according to the Associated Press.

The incident is being reported after the UN-brokered truce between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) in Yemen ended earlier this month, with Houthi rebels threatening to escalate attacks within the maritime domain, Dryad Global said. The threats have included disruptions to vessels heading to SLC countries.

Okeanis Eco Tankers added that all necessary precautionary measures were duly taken beforehand and during the incident.

“The relevant authorities have been kept closely informed, as required,” the company statement reads.

The company is satisfied that its health & safety protocols, which are well-designed to deal with such circumstances, were appropriately applied to ensure the safety of our vessel and our crew in a timely manner.”

Commenting on the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen called on the Houthis to immediately halt such attacks, which are an ‘affront to navigational rights and freedoms and jeopardize international commerce.’

We are glad that no lives were lost in the attack and that the ship was able to depart safely, but such attacks threaten Yemen’s peace and security, hinder the flow of essential goods, and will only trigger further economic instability and suffering across the country,” the embassy said.

“We urge all parties to demonstrate restraint during this sensitive time. Only through an extension of the truce can we ensure payment of salaries, free movement on Yemen’s roads and through its ports and airports, and an end to the cycle of destructive violence that has plagued Yemen for eight years.”

The 300,000 dwt very large crude carrier (VLCC) was delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea in March 2022. It is the first of two gas-ready VLCC newbuilds the company acquired in the second half of 2021.

The second ECO-design, open loop scrubber-fitted VLCC from the batch, named Nissos Nikouria, was delivered in June 2022.

Greece-based OET, incorporated in 2018 under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has a fleet of six scrubber-fitted Suezmax tankers and eight scrubber-fitted VLCC tankers.