Saudi-led coalition in Yemen foils oil tanker attack

The tanker was sailing towards the Gulf of Aden when it was targeted by four boats

Photos showed the unmanned boat swerving in the waves. SPA
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The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it had foiled an attack on an oil tanker off the country's coast, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.

The tanker was sailing towards the Gulf of Aden when it was targeted by four boats, with one of the unmanned vessels "trying to explode it", coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki said in the statement carried on SPA.

The attack that aimed to target the oil tanker in the Arabian Sea 90 nautical miles southeast of Yemeni Nishtun port was "thwarted and foiled" Col Turki Al Malki.

He added that "the attempt was carried out using four boats and attempted to bomb the oil tanker".

Photographs released by the coalition show a small, unoccupied boat speeding towards the tanker, weaving from side to side, before diverting away.

The spokesman said the coalition calls on international partners to consolidate and intensify international efforts to neutralise threats against international security.

The statement did not say who was behind the attack.

The coalition has in the past accused Yemen's Houthi movement of trying to attack vessels off the coast of Yemen with unmanned boats laden with explosives.

The sea straits around Yemen including the Southern Red Sea, Bab Al Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz are all seen as crucial shipping lanes for global energy markets.

In January, countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden formed a council to support co-operation and economic integration in the region.

At the formation of the group, representatives from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt and Yemen discussed  strategies for securing the two waterways from piracy, smuggling and regional threats.

Last year saw repeated attacks against vessels crossing the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden.

Last October an Iranian tanker was hit by missiles in the Red Sea, causing an oil spill. In September, the Arab Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, said it had intercepted and destroyed an explosives-laden boat launched from Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthi group.