Chris Pleasance, Martin Robinson – Mail Online Oct 11, 2019
- Iranian supertanker Sabiti rocked by two explosions in the Red Sea near Jeddah
- Iran said vessel was hit by two missiles in what experts called a ‘terrorist attack’
- It comes after a series of attacks on Saudi oil tankers which were blamed on Iran
An Iranian oil tanker has been hit by two explosions off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
The National Iran Oil Company said a supertanker called Sabiti was struck by two missiles around 60 miles from the port of Jeddah on Friday morning.
The explosions badly damaged two tanks on board the vessel, causing it to leak into the Red Sea.
‘Experts believe it was a terrorist attack,’ a source told Iranian news agency ISNA.
The Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the crew was safe and had stopped the leak.
The state-owned National Iranian Tanker Company said that contrary to reports, ‘there is no fire aboard the ship and the ship is completely stable’.
It comes months after a series of attacks on tankers belonging to Saudi Arabia and its allies which were blamed on Iran.
In May four tankers – two belonging to Saudi Arabia, one to Norway and one to the UAE – were struck by explosions
Tensions have been high between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia since an attack on the Kingdom’s two oil facilities on September 14 that caused fires and damage and shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production – more than 5 per cent 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
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees the region, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reported explosion comes after the U.S. has alleged that Iran attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, something denied by Tehran.