Maritime intelligence firm Dryad Global received "unconfirmed reports" that an oil tanker, possibly named "NCC Dammam," has been attacked off the Saudi Red Sea port of Yanbu.
We're receiving unconfirmed reports that a vessel, possibly the NCC DAMMAM has been attacked off Yanbu Port #SaudiArabia #BreakingNews— Dryad Global (@GlobalDryad) April 27, 2021
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Strategic Risk Consultancy MENA tweeted that "for three and a half hours the NCC DAMMAM has been showing the status of 'Not Under Command' on Marine Traffic."
Refinitiv vessel-tracking data shows around 0242GMT, the vessel deviated off course and began sailing in a zig-zag formation as speed dramatically slowed to less than a knot. The ship was en route to the port of Yanbu al-Bahr, Saudi Arabia, but appears to be stopped.
United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it was informed about an incident on Tuesday two nautical miles from Yanbu. UKMTO did not say if the incident was related to NCC DAMMAM. This area has been known for commercial vessels being attacked.
According to maritime security firm Neptune P2P Group, the King Fahd Port is "transmitting a warning message" to all ships to be extra "vigilant."
The maritime security firm wrote: "King Fahd Port control are transmitting a warning message on VHF CH 11 instructing ships to be vigilant and monitor the North and South entrance for suspicious small boat activity.
"It has been reported that an unidentified vessel may have suffered an explosion and black smoke has been spotted in the approaches to the South port entrance.
"The report of an explosion has yet to be confirmed by the port authorities but the sighting of black smoke has been verified by shipping awaiting entry to the port."
Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabian forces intercepted and destroyed a small vessel packed with explosives in the Red Sea near Yanbu on Tuesday.