Iran oil tanker hit by two missiles off Saudi coast

Two missiles caused an explosion on an Iranian oil tanker, originally said to be a terrorist attack.

By REUTERS
October 11, 2019 12:36
1 minute read.
A crew member raises the Iranian flag on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1

A crew member raises the Iranian flag on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019. . (photo credit: JON NAZCA/ REUTERS)

DUBAI - An explosion set ablaze an Iranian oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, Iranian state media reported on Friday, adding that experts suspected it was a "terrorist attack."

Iran's foreign ministry confirmed that the Iranian-owned oil tanker Sabiti had been attacked in the Red Sea on Friday and was samaged, state TV reported.

"Those behind the attack are responsible for the consequences of this dangerous adventure, including the dangerous environmental pollution caused," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told state TV.

The oil leak, caused by the attack on the tanker  is now under control.

The Sabiti tanker suffered heavy damage and was leaking crude about 60 miles (96 km) from Jeddah port, Iranian media had reported.

"The leak of oil has stopped and the situation is under control," IRNA said.

"Two missiles hit the Iran-owned ship near the Jeddah port city of Saudi Arabia," TV said, quoting the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

 The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is aware of media reports about an Iranian tanker blast but has no further information so far, a spokesman said on Friday.

"We are aware of the reports but we don't have any further information," he said. The Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet protects shipping lanes in the Middle East.

The tanker, owned by National Iranian Oil Company, had suffered heavy damage and was leaking oil into the Red Sea some 60 miles from Jeddah, unnamed sources told Iran's Students News Agency ISNA.

"Experts believe it was a terrorist attack," a source told ISNA.

The Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the crew was safe and gave the name of stricken vessel as "Sanitized."

Tensions have been high between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia since an attack on the Kingdom's two oil facilities on Sept. 14 that caused fires and damage and shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production - more than 5% of global oil supply.

Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a U.S. official said they originated from southwestern Iran. Riyadh blamed Tehran. Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s war, has denied any involvement.


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