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Egypt condemns attack on Saudi oil tanker
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 26 - 07 - 2018

CAIRO, July 26, 2018 - Egypt strongly condemned the attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea on Wednesday (Cairo local time).
The attack is a flagrant violation of international conventions and laws stipulating freedom of navigation in international waterways, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
It warned that such an attack negatively affects international trade.
The attack, which took place while the tanker was sailing through Bab el-Mandeb Strait, inflicted minimal damage on the tanker but forced the Saudi Energy Ministry to suspend all oil shipments through the Red Sea until further notice.
Egypt renewed calls on the international community to work for restoring legitimacy in Yemen in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2216 and the Gulf initiative and to firmly face all terrorist attacks aiming at destabilising the entire region.
Saudi Arabia said Thursday it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea's Bab al-Mandeb strait, one of the world's most important tanker routes, after Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.
Brent futures rose 19 cents to $74.12 a barrel by 13:05 GMT, extending their rally into a third day but slipping from a 10-day high in earlier trading, according to Reuters report.
Saudi Arabia and arch-foe Iran have been locked in a three-year proxy war in Yemen, which lies on one side of the Bab al-Mandeb strait.
The Houthis, who have previously threatened to block the strait, said Thursday that they had the naval capability to hit Saudi ports and other Red Sea targets. Iran has threatened to block another strategic shipping route, the Strait of Hormuz.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the Houthis attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea on Wednesday, one of which sustained minimal damage.
"Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe," he said.
It was not clear if a Saudi-led military coalition would take additional security measures or impose further restrictions on imports to Yemen, which is struggling with the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.
A senior oil source said Saudi Arabia had already beefed up oil security and that all crude vessels in the area are accompanied by security ships.
Saudi crude exports through Bab al-Mandeb are estimated at around 500,000-700,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to analysts and Reuters data. Most Gulf oil exports that transit the Suez Canal and SUMED Pipeline pass through the strait.


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