- JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images
- Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers had been targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
- Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih confirmed in a statement by state-owned Saudi Press Agency that the attack occurred at 6 a.m. local time as the ships were traveling towards the Arabian Gulf. The statement did not provide details on who was behind the attack.
- The incident comes on the heels of a US Maritime Administration advisory which warned of possible Iranian attacks on commercial ships and oil tankers in the region.
- Last week, the US said it would be deploying a bomber task force and other military resources in response to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih revealed on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers had been targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
In a statement to state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the minister confirmed the attack occurred at 6 a.m. local time off the coast of Fujirah, which is part of the UAE, as the ships were travelling towards the Arabian Gulf.
“Two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates,” Falih said the statement.
One of the ships was loaded with crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, a city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and was en route to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the US, it added.
The attack did not cause any oil spill or injuries, though the structures of the two vessels were significantly damaged, SPA said. The statement did not give details on who may have been behind the attack.
On Sunday, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said four commercial ships were “sabotaged” near UAE waters in the Gulf of Oman, and an investigation into the incident was underway. It did not give further details of the attack, though it did confirm no injuries or fatalities were reported on board.
The attack comes on the heels of a US Maritime Administration advisory which warned of possible Iranian attacks on commercial ships and oil tankers in the region.
“Since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against US and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz,” the statement said, referring to one of the world’s most strategic trade routes between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to the US ending sanctions waivers to several key countries which allowed them to buy oil from Iran. The US has also vowed to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero.
National security adviser announced last week that the US would be deploying a bomber task force and other military resources in response to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement.