A Maltese-flagged Aframax tanker was damaged by a floating mine off the coast of Bir Ali, Yemen last week, according to Iranian reports.
Recently-founded Iranian outlet Iran Press News Agency has reported that the crude tanker Syra was damaged in a “collision with marine mines” at the Al-Nashimah oil port (Bir Ali). While IP claimed that the vessel was sunk, the Syra was broadcasting AIS and under way in the Gulf of Oman on Friday.
Sea mines feature regularly in the Yemeni civil war. Houthi rebel militias have previously used improvised mines to attack Saudi coalition vessels, in addition to remote-controlled “bomb boats” with active human guidance.
Control of southern Yemen is contested between the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the forces of the Southern Transitional Council, a breakaway faction backed by the United Arab Emirates. South Yemen was a separate country (People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen) until 1990, and secessionist sentiment remains.
The Safer Production and Exploration Company resumed crude production in southern Yemen after a five-year shutdown just last year, according to Al-Masdar. The company’s initial focus has been on restoring the supply for the Al-Nashimah port for exports.