Ince Shipping Group says attack on bulker was from missile

Turkish conglomerate Ince Shipping Group has asserted that the explosion on board bulker Ince Inebolu (IMO 9254472) off the port of Saleef, Yemen, last week was caused by a missile attack.

Ince technical manager Yaşar Canca said that the Inebolu was anchored and awaiting permission to enter Saleef to offload a cargo of Russian wheat, having already called at Djibouti for an inspection, and had received approval from UN officials to proceed.

Canca said that at midnight on May 10th a missile penetrated the Number 3 topside tank and exploded inside, causing localized hull damage and a hole in the Inebolu’s shell plating. Saudi forces responded to the scene and arranged to bring the vessel to the port of Jizan. No crew were injured in the alleged attack.

A Saudi official said last week that “coalition forces conducted a survey of the incident and visited the ship and found an explosion from the inside to the outside”.

Iran-backed Houthi leaders claimed that the Inebolu was struck by Saudi coalition warplanes, not by rebel forces. Houthi ministry of transport has said that the vessel was targeted by the Saudi coalition after taking the permit to enter from the UN Verification, Inspection and Monitoring office in Djibouti.

Meanwhile, the fate of Ince Inebolu and its Russian wheat to Yemen remains uncertain. The captain has said that the wheat was not damaged. Yemen’s Fahem Group reportedly was the buyer of the grain, while Dubai’s Phoenix Commodities was said to be the supplier of the product, which had arrived from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Ince Shipping was unsure when the grain could now be delivered to the Fahem Group in Yemen. The company said that the cargo needed to unloaded before the ship could be taken in for repair.

2002-built, Turkey-flagged, 30,011 gt Ince Inebolu is owned and managed by Ince Denizcilik Ve Ticaret AS of Istanbul, Turkey. It is entered with London P&I Club on behalf of Ince Denizcilik Ve Ticaret AS.