TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in attacks that caused “significant damage” to the vessels.
One of the ships was en route to pick up Saudi oil to take to the United States, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.
The announcement by al-Falih came as the UAE’s regional allies condemned the reported sabotage on Sunday of four ships off the coast of the port city of Fujairah, Al Jazeera reported.
Reports of explosions at the city’s port were aired by Lebanese media on Sunday but UAE authorities initially said the reports were inaccurate.
Emirati officials have declined to elaborate on the nature of the sabotage to the ships or say who might have been responsible.
Shortly after the Saudi announcement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry called for further clarification about what exactly happened with the Saudi tankers.
The ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, expressed concern over a Sunday incident in which a number of trade vessels were attacked in the Sea of Oman, warning of foreign seditious plots to upset the region’s security and stability.
Mousavi also warned against any “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners” to undermine the maritime region’s stability and security.
In his statement, al-Falih said the attacks on the two tankers happened at 6am on 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.
A statement on Sunday from the UAE’s Foreign Ministry put the ships near the country’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of the port of Fujairah.
It said it was investigating “in cooperation with local and international bodies.”
Fujairah facility handles oil for bunkering and shipping, as well as general and bulk cargo.