world

Iran says oil tanker struck by 2 missiles off Saudi Arabia

10 Comments

Two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia on Friday, Iranian officials said, the latest incident in the region amid months of heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S.

There was no word from Saudi Arabia on the reported attack and Saudi officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Oil prices spiked by 2% on the news.

"This latest incident, if confirmed to be an act of aggression is highly likely to be part of the wider narrative of deteriorating relations between Saudi and the U.S. and Iran," private maritime security firm Dryad Maritime warned.

"It is likely that the region, have being stable for the last month, will face another period of increasing maritime threats, as the Iranian and Saudi geopolitical stand-off continues," it added.

Iranian state television said the explosion damaged two storerooms aboard the oil tanker and caused an oil leak into the Red Sea near the Saudi port city of Jiddah. The leak was later stopped, IRNA reported.

The state-run IRNA news agency, quoting Iran's National Iranian Tanker Co., identified the stricken vessel as the Sabiti. It turned on its tracking devices late Friday morning in the Red Sea, putting its location some 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Jiddah, according to data from MarineTraffic.com. The ship is carrying some 1 million barrels of crude oil, according to an analysis from data firm Refinitiv.

Images released by Iran's Petroleum Ministry appeared to show no visible damage to the Sabiti visible from its bridge, though they did not show the ship's sides. The ministry's SHANA news agency said no ship nor any authority in the area responded to its distress messages.

The Sabiti last turned on its tracking devices in August near the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. Iranian tankers routinely turn off their trackers as U.S. sanctions target the sale of Iran's crude oil.

"The oil tanker ... sustained damages to the body when it was hit by missiles 60 miles (96 kilometers) from the Saudi port city of Jiddah," IRNA said.

The agency did not say whom Iranian officials suspect of launching the missiles.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as an "attack" carried out by those committing "dangerous adventurism." In a statement, Mousavi said the Sabiti was struck twice in the span of a half hour and an investigation was underway.

Lt. Pete Pagano, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet overseeing the Mideast, said authorities there were "aware of reports of this incident," but declined to comment further.

Benchmark Brent crude oil rose over 2% in trading Friday to reach some $60.40 a barrel.

The reported attack comes after the U.S. has alleged that in past months Iran attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, something denied by Tehran.

Friday's incident could push tensions between Iran and the U.S. even higher, more than a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions now crushing Iran's economy.

The mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone and other incidents across the wider Middle East followed Trump's decision.

The latest assault saw Saudi Arabia's vital oil industry come under a drone-and-cruise-missile attack, halving the kingdom's output. The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack, something denied by Tehran. Yemen's Houthi rebels, whom the kingdom is fighting in a yearslong war, claimed that assault, though analysts say the missiles used in the attack wouldn't have the range to reach the sites from Yemen.

Mousavi also said that Iranian tankers have been targeted by "damaging activities" over recent months in the Red Sea. He did not elaborate.

In May, an Iranian oil tanker carrying more than 1 million barrels of fuel oil suffered a reported malfunction in the same area as the Sabiti came under attack. The kingdom helped the Happiness I reach anchorage off Jiddah, where it was repaired and later left.

In its analysis Friday, Dryad Maritime said the incident involving the Happiness I bore "the hallmarks of a potential explosive incident."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
Login to comment

Uh-Oh:

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Can they not do this without spilling oil, or blood?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

nandakandamanda: are you crazy? Have you thought of all the jobs that will be lost?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This has all been planned years in advance. These things don't "just happen"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What, so Extinction Rebellion planned this?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We all know who is trying to goad Iran into a conflict, standard playbook procedure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Iran are denying it was hit by missiles, saying that the fire is out and they have contained the spill.

They have apparently turned the tanker's transponder back on now after two months' of silence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So where is the truth if everyone denies everything? Was this company trying to hide something?

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/10/11/Iranian-tanker-explodes-near-Saudi-Arabia-s-port-city-of-Jeddah.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Once again, it will take days, if not weeks, before the facts of this incident are actually uncovered. News media outlets will continue to publish conflicting versions in order to boost their own circulation numbers/importance. Was there a missile? Was this another limpet mine? Was it simply an industrial accident? Did anything actually happen?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Has anyone produced any evidence (photos would be good) of these two alleged missile-strikes that were supposed to have damaged an Iranian tanker?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites