Home Commodities Trafigura tanker fire extinguished after latest Houthi missile attack

Trafigura tanker fire extinguished after latest Houthi missile attack



Tanker was carrying naphtha cargo bound for Singapore

Attack could prompt East-West naphtha spread to widen further

Many shippers now taking longer Cape of Good Hope route

Trafigura said Jan. 27 that a fire onboard a petroleum products tanker it operates has been extinguished, after the vessel was struck overnight by a missile attack by Houthi militia in the Gulf of Aden.

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“The vessel is now sailing towards a safe harbour,” Trafigura said in a statement. “The crew continues to monitor the vessel and cargo closely.”

Trafigura identified the petroleum products tanker as the Marlin Luanda. The tanker was carrying a naphtha cargo bound for Singapore, according to market sources and data provided by S&P Global Commodities at Sea.

The attack could further widen the East-West naphtha spread, which was at $33/mt on Jan. 26, continuing a steady widening trend from Jan. 3, when it was at $15/mt, according to data from Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Backwardation in the paper market strengthened on the day, as brokers pegged the front-month February-March Mean Of Platts Japan naphtha swap spread at $16/mt on Jan. 26, up $1.50/mt from the previous day’s Asian close. This was the highest since March 18, 2022, when the time spread stood at $21.50/mt, marking a near two-year high, Platts data showed.

Additionally, the clean tanker freight rate for Europe-bound voyages hit its highest level in almost four years on Jan. 25, as a result of the Red Sea crisis, which has prompted shipowners to take longer voyages via the Cape of Good Hope amid increased seaway aggression.

Just hours prior to the attack on Jan. 26, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations reported two missiles exploding in the water southwest of Aden, Yemen. No damage or injuries were reported, with the vessel involved continuing to its next port of call.

All other vessels have been advised to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity to the agency, according to a notice by the UKMTO.

“No further vessels operating on behalf of Trafigura are currently transiting the Gulf of Aden and we continue to assess carefully the risks involved in any voyage, including in respect of security and safety of the crew, together with shipowners and customers,” Trafigura added in the statement.

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