14575
Views

Possible Mine Found on the Hull of Tanker Anchored in Iraqi Waters

possible mine found on the hull of a tanker near Iraq
Tanker anchored near Iraq (file photo)

Published Dec 31, 2020 2:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

A suspicious object feared to be a limpet mine was found attached to the hull of a tanker in the Persian Gulf near the Iraqi city of Basra. The managers of the vessel, Dynacom Tankers of Greece, issued a brief statement confirming the incident and saying that the crew had been mustered and was safe while an investigation was ongoing.

Security analysts Dryad Global reported, “it is unknown whether the device found was viable and thus failed to explode or was placed as a 'dry run'.” Dryad highlighted that, “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.”

The Liberian registered M/T Pola, a 149,996 DWT tanker built in 2011, has been the Kaz anchorage for the past several days south of the Al Bakr Terminal performing ship-to-ship oil transfers. A second tanker, the M/T Nordic Freedom, was alongside this morning when the crew spotted the suspicious device attached to the hull of the Pola. Dryad reports that the crew of the Nordic Freedom assisted in obtaining pictures of the device.

Dynacom reports the crew followed international protocols and was immediately mustered while port and local authorities were also notified.

Tensions have been high in the region for several months and Dryad highlights that “recent increases in US military activity and rhetoric have led to a heightened posture within Iran.” They also warned of a potential action by Iran on the anniversary of the death of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani.

During the summer, Iranian forces mysteriously boarded a tanker in the Persian Gulf, but released it a few hours later. Two weeks ago, Hafnia’s 2008-built product tanker BW Rhine suffered an explosion at the main anchorage of the port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dryad reported that the explosion was caused by a limpet mine that had been attached to the hull of the tanker. 

All vessels operating in the region are being encouraged to operate at a heightened posture of vigilance both at anchor as well as in transit.