Saudi coast guard rescues Iranian oil ship in Red Sea

All 26 crew members are safe. (Reuters)
Updated 02 May 2019

Saudi coast guard rescues Iranian oil ship in Red Sea

  • Saudi authorities said various government agencies were involved in the operation, including those who handle environmental protection
  • The vessel had a crew of 26, including 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis

 DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said Thursday it was responding to an emergency involving an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Jiddah, and analysts said the vessel carried over 1 million barrels of fuel oil and might be leaking.

There was no immediate report on the incident in Iran, which suffered an oil tanker disaster last year in the East China Sea that killed 32 sailors and now faces a US pressure campaign over its oil sales.

Saudi Arabia's state-run television channels and news agency said authorities received a distress call from the Happiness I over an "engine failure and the loss of control."

The vessel had a crew of 26, including 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, Saudi state media said. They described the ship's position as some 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Jiddah in the Red Sea.

Saudi authorities said various government agencies were involved in the operation, including those who handle environmental protection. It did not elaborate on whether oil had spilled from the tanker.

The website TankerTrackers.com, whose analysts monitor oil sales on the seas, estimated the Happiness I carried at least 1.1 million barrels of fuel oil. It said the ship sailed in tandem with another smaller sister ship named the Sabiti.

The Happiness I stopped its engines Tuesday, then was shadowed by the Sabiti close enough to have its crew escape, TankerTrackers said. Two tugboats from Saudi Arabia appeared to have reached the ships, TankerTrackers said.

TankerTrackers said an oil leak was possible on the Happiness I, though it gave no details.

"We cannot conclude what caused the leak, but given how abruptly things happened, it does seem like something surprised them otherwise we would have seen the vessels slow down or deviate in an attempt to avoid an incident," the website said.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are chief Mideast rivals. Iran now faces increased pressure from the US over its oil sales after President Donald Trump pulled America out of its nuclear deal with world powers. Iran has warned it will respond aggressively to any attempt to cut its oil exports to zero, as the Trump administration has pledged to do.

In January 2018, the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi struck the Chinese freighter CF Crystal 257 kilometers (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea. The Sanchi, carrying nearly 1 million barrels of a gassy, ultra-light oil bound for South Korea, burst into flames.


Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

Updated 20 January 2020

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

  • The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields
  • The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts

RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture has launched a website for applications from students who wish to join the Culture Scholarship Program. From Sunday, applications can be made at https://engage.moc.gov.sa/scholarships on three tracks: Self-financed students, pre-accepted students and the new students. The website features the application forms, benefits and general conditions for each track, as well as a list of relevant educational institutions.
The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields from the world’s most prominent educational institutions.
The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts (drawing, sculpture, art theory, calligraphy, art history, photography and cinematography) filmmaking, literature and linguistics, archaeology, culinary arts, design, architecture and libraries and museums.
The program offers several advantages for both self-financed students and pre-accepted students. Scholarships cover all tuition fees, financial support, living expenses, health care and return flights to the scholarship’s location for both the student and their companion.
Students in these two tracks are offered guidance and assessment programs to check their academic development during the program, as well as getting support in other aspects needed for their advancement. After their graduation, students in these two tracks can also join training programs abroad for a maximum of two years.
The program offers several advantages to new students who have not yet received acceptance. The program helps them to get the qualifications they need to be accepted by universities by offering assistance in overcoming obstacles such as language proficiency and interpersonal skills.
The program supports the students by organizing training workshops to develop their talents and skills. It introduces them to specialized experts in the field related to their scholarships. The program saves students time and effort and supports them throughout the whole registration process, by helping them write their resumes and complete their portfolios professionally.
The scholarship program is an educational first in Saudi Arabia, and is part of a Ministry of Culture initiative to develop national cadres specialized in cultural and arts fields so as to develop the sector and meet the increasing requirements of the labor market.