Tanker Avoids Two "Drone-Driven Explosions" at Port in Yemen

Nissos Kea
AIS trackline courtesy Pole Star

Published Oct 21, 2022 4:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday afternoon, the tanker Nissos Kea survived an apparent attempted strike by two drones off the coast of Yemen, according to her operator. 

Okeanis Eco Tankers reported Friday that one of its tankers, the 300,000 dwt VLCC Nissos Kea, encountered a unique security threat when it called at the port of Ash Shihr. The port consists of two SPM loading buoys offshore, and AIS data shows that the Kea arrived at about 1200 hours GMT on Friday. 

While the vessel was at the buoy for loading, "there were two drone-driven explosions in close proximity," Okeanis reported. The master responded by departing the loading port and heading out to sea. 

Neither of the two blasts struck the tanker, and the crew were unharmed. There was no damage to the vessel and no pollution was reported, the operator said. The appropriate authorities have been informed of the incident. 

AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that the vessel is now well offshore in the Gulf of Aden.

"The company is satisfied that its health and safety protocols, which are well-designed to deal with such circumstances, were appropriately applied to ensure the safety of our vessel and our crew in a timely manner," Okeanos said.  

Nissos Kea is a brand new scrubber-equipped VLCC flagged in the Marshall Islands. She was delivered in March, and a sister ship is under construction. 

The party responsible for the blast is not known, but the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel movement has recently threatened to attack tankers calling in Yemen, according to Dryad Global. Houthi military operations rely heavily on drone warfare, including Iranian "bomb boat" and suicide drone technology.