Two Saudi oil tankers damaged in ‘sabotage attack’

Two Saudi oil tankers damaged in ‘sabotage attack’: On Monday, Saudi Arabia said that two of its oil tankers had been sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in attacks that caused “significant damage” to the vessels, it described as posing a threat to the security of global oil supplies.

According to the UAE, four tankers were targeted overall, in what the country said was a “sabotage attack” that took place near the strategic port of Fujairah on Sunday.

The UAE ministry did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged sabotage or offer any indication as to who might be responsible, including whether it was carried out by individuals or a larger group or country.

The ministry added that authorities were working with local and international bodies to investigate the incident, which it described as a “dangerous development.” It said there were no injuries or deaths.

In his statement, al-Falih said the attacks on the two tankers happened at 6 am, Sunday.

“One of the two vessels was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, to be delivered to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the United States,” al-Falih 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.”

Saudi Arabia did not identify the vessels involved, nor did it say whom it suspected of carrying out the alleged sabotage.

In a tweet, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said investigations in the incident were ongoing but that the government had its “own readings and conclusions.”

Tensions have risen in the oil-rich region in recent weeks amid the deployment of a growing number of United States military assets to the Middle East due to deteriorating relations with Iran.

Khalid al-Falih’s comments came as the US issued a new warning to sailors and the UAE’s regional allies condemned the reported sabotage Sunday of four ships off the coast of the port city of Fujairah. The announcement came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the city’s port.

Emirati officials have declined to elaborate on the nature of the sabotage or say who might have been responsible. However, the reports come as the US has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran.