TWO Saudi oil tankers were hit by a “sabotage attack” off the United Arab Emirates, it was announced this morning – as tensions flare between the US and Iran.
The ships were struck off the coast of the port of Fujairah – with one of the tankers due to be loaded with Saudi crude oil bound for the United States.
Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih revealed the tankers suffered “significant damage” – although it was unclear what the attack involved.
He said: “Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”
Trading and shipping sources identified the Saudi ships as Bahri-owned very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah.
A huge US naval presence has built up in the Gulf over recent days amid a fevered standoff between Washington and Tehran.
US intelligence revealed Iran was on the verge of carrying out offensive action to disrupt and attack American and partner interests in the region.
Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia said Monday two of its oil tankers were damaged in “sabotage attacks” in the Gulf as tensions soared in a region already shaken by a standoff between the United States and Iran.
It came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scrapped a planned visit to Moscow to head to Brussels instead for talks with European officials on Iran.
Tehran called for an investigation into the “alarming” attacks and warned of “adventurism” by foreign players to disrupt maritime security.
The United States has already strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged Iranian threats.
Saudi Arabia, the Islamic republic’s regional arch-rival, condemned “the acts of sabotage which targeted commercial and civilian vessels near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates,” a foreign ministry source said.
“This criminal act constitutes a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime navigation and adversely impacts regional and international peace and security,” the source added.
The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off the emirate of Fujairah.