Iranian oil tanker struck off Saudi coast

11 October 2019 (Last Updated October 14th, 2019 11:29)

An Iranian-owned oil tanker was struck, possibly by two missiles, in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia’s coast.

An Iranian-owned oil tanker was struck, possibly by two missiles, in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia’s coast.

Iranian state TV reported that the National Iranian Oil company’s oil tanker Sabiti was attacked by suspected missiles offshore the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Citing unnamed sources, Iran’s Students News Agency ISNA said that the vessel suffered heavy damage and was spilling oil into the water.

Iran’s Nour news agency reported that all the crew members of the oil tanker are safe. Sabiti was hit about 96km (60 miles) off the Saudi coast, reported Iranian media and other international news agencies.

If the attack by missiles is confirmed, there are fears that the incident could increase tensions in the already-volatile region, which has seen a series of attacks on crude ships and oil facilities since May 2019.

Reuters reported  there was no claim of responsibility for the present blast, which follows attacks on tankers in the Gulf in May and June 2019 besides strikes on Saudi oil sites in September 2019.

Iran’s state-owned news agency SHANA reported that no ship or any authority in the area responded to its distress messages. Although NITC confirmed the oil leakage, it could not confirm the source of the strikes.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “Those behind the attack are responsible for the consequences of this dangerous adventure, including the dangerous environmental pollution caused.

“The details and factors behind this act will be investigated and will be announced after the results are reached.”

NITC also stressed that the images posted on some social media networks and other news sites showing a ship on fire did not belong to its Sabiti vessel.

Disruption in oil tanker services passing through the Suez Canal or SUMED crude pipeline, which has a capacity of around 2.34 million bpd, would impact global oil supply.