Iran-backed Houthis hit Saudi oil tanker off Yemen coast

Iran-backed Houthis hit Saudi oil tanker off Yemen coast

Kuwait is studying whether to halt oil exports through Bab al-Mandeb strait, an oil official said, after Saudi Arabia said it was suspending all crude shipments through the Red Sea lane following an attack on two of its tankers.

"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", the statement said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Houthis attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea, causing slight damage, Saudi state television quoted the coalition as saying.

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih announced that the kingdom would be "temporarily halting" shipments through the critical Bab al-Mandab strait - off the coast of Yemen, due to attacks on Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) earlier in the day. The movement's fighters launch missile attacks on Saudi targets in response to Riyadh's war on Yemen.

The alliance intervened in the Yemen war in March 2015 at the request of the internationally recognised government to restore its power and push back the rebels after they took over Sanaa.

Brent crude futures had risen 47 cents, or 0.6%, to $74.40 a barrel, after gaining 0.7% on Wednesday.

The coalition has repeatedly raised alarm that Houthi rebels threaten vessels in the Red Sea - a key shipping route for world trade - through their control of the strategic Hodeida port.

Col. Al-Malki reaffirmed: "The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has and will always implement all security and precautionary measures to sustain safety and security of freedom of navigation and global trade in the Red Sea and the Straits of Bab-El-Mandeb".

Bab-el-Mandeb is a potential choking point for Saudi oil shipments.

"The two million barrels capacity for each tanker were full of crude oil cargo at the time and were headed for export".

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates backed Trump's decision to quit a nuclear deal with Iran. Saudi Arabia accuses regional arch-foe Iran of supplying missiles to the Houthis, which both Tehran and the Houthis deny.

A Saudi oil tanker came under an "Iranian-Houthi" terrorist attack in worldwide waters, west of the Port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by the terrorist Iranian-Houthi militias.

A Yemeni navy source said that coalition boat was carrying weapons and Saudi-allied forces to Hudaydah, which has been the subject of a military push by Emirati forces and allied militants, backed by Saudi air raids.

The Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which runs close to the shoreline of Yemen, is the main shipping lane linking the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. An estimated 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products flowed through this waterway in 2016 toward Europe, the United States, and Asia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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