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Attack reported in Red Sea on Vietnamese tanker

On Friday March 15th Ambrey and UKMTO said that a tanker in Red Sea had been attacked, with two explosions reported. United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said a ship had reported being “struck by a missile” early on Friday. “The vessel has sustained some damage,” the UKMTO added. It described the crew as being “safe” and said the ship was continuing on its way, suggesting that the damage was not severe. The incident took place 76 miles west of Hodeidah, Yemen.

First reports from the UKMTO and Ambrey said that the tanker had been hit and had sustained damage. However, UKMTO later said that a daylight inspection led the master to say that the vessel had not been hit and had not sustained damage, and was proceeding on its voyage to Suez.

In what could be a notification of the same attack, UKMTO said early on Friday that it had received a report that missiles passed near a ship 50nm southwest of al Hodeidah, Yemen. “The Master reported two missiles flying over the vessel and heard two loud blasts in the distance,” the UKMTO said in an advisory note. In this case UKMTO said that the vessel reported no damage and that the crew were reported safe. “The vessel is proceeding to its next port of call. Authorities are investigating,” the advisory said.

The attacked vessel could be the Pacific 01 (IMO 9395379), with the second report possibly being from a different vessel, but reporting the same attack, or from the same vessel, being a later update. The Houthis said that that the Pacific 01 was “an Israeli ship”, but this claim appeared to be based on outdated information. The ship, previously known as the Koro Sea, had transferred ownership and management last month to Pacific Ocean Energy Trans, which is based in Vietnam, taking on the new name Pacific 01. The new ownership and management have no links whatsoever to Israel, the UK or the US. Ambrey last month issued a warning to ship owners and operators that they should not assume that the Houthis had either up-to-date or accurate information. Ambrey also noted that it had in February been notified of a record number of charter-party disputes relating to the Red Sea situation.

2008-built, Panama-flagged, 56,355 gt Pacific 01 is owned and managed by Pacific Ocean Energy Trans JSC of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The vessel was reported as being en route from Ko Sichang, Thailand, to Suez, Egypt, ETA March 18th