Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia says 2 oil tankers damaged by sabotage attacks

AP | Dawn.comUpdated May 13, 2019

S.Arabia's announcement came after Iranian, Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at city's port. — AFP/File

Saudi Arabia said on Monday 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 them as it was en route to pick up Saudi oil to take to the United States.

The announcement by the kingdom's energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, 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 statement came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the city's port.

Shortly after the Saudi announcement, Iran's Foreign Ministry called for further clarification about what exactly happened with the Saudi tankers.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

The ministry' spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying there should be more information about the incident.

Mousavi also warned against any “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners” to undermine the maritime region's stability and security.

How it happened

In his statement, Saudi energy minister 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.

Emirati officials have declined to elaborate on the nature of the sabotage or say who might have been responsible, but a statement issued by the UAE's Foreign Ministry on Sunday 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.”

It said there were “no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels” and “no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.”

The US Navy's 5th Fleet, which oversees the region, did not immediately offer comment.

Emirati officials declined to answer questions from The Associated Press, saying their investigation is ongoing.

US-Iran wrangle

The US has alleged that “Iran or its proxies” could be plotting to target maritime traffic in the region ─ a claim that has been met with scepticism in numerous quarters, with leading US Democratic lawmakers fearing that President Donald Trump's administration is seeking to spark a war with Iran.

Tensions in the region have risen since US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis.

The US on May 2, ostensibly as a way to pressure importers to stop buying oil from Tehran, ended the six-month waivers exempting several countries including major importer China, with whom the US is currently involved in a trade tussle — from unilateral US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — have already ended or heavily reduced their purchases from Iran. The other three are China, India and Turkey, with Ankara vowing to defy the US demands.

Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

The US Maritime Administration, a division of the US Transportation Department, warned on Thursday that Iran could target commercial sea traffic.

“Since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against US and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz,” the warning read.

“Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or US military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait or the Persian Gulf.”

America has deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran. The bombers were reported to have reached Qatar by Friday, May 10.

Lebanese channels falsely report explosions

Earlier on Sunday, Lebanon's pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting “Gulf sources,” falsely reported that a series of explosions had struck Fujairah's port.

State and semi-official media in Iran picked up the report from Al-Mayadeen, which later published the names of vessels it claimed were involved.

The AP, after speaking to Emirati officials and local witnesses, found the report about explosions at the port to be unsubstantiated.

Fujairah's port is about 140 kilometres (85 miles) south of the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil at sea is traded.

The facility handles oil for bunkering and shipping, as well as general and bulk cargo. It is seen as strategically located, serving shipping routes in the Persian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent and Africa.

Also on Sunday, the US Maritime Administration had issued a new warning to sailors about the alleged sabotage, while stressing “the incident has not been confirmed.”

It urged shippers to exercise caution in the area for the next week. Publicly available satellite images of the area taken Sunday showed no smoke or fire.

It remains unclear if the previous warning from the US Maritime Administration is the same perceived threat that prompted the White House to order the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4.

GCC warns against 'irresponsible acts'

Underlining the regional risk, the general-secretary of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council described the alleged sabotage as a “serious escalation” in an overnight statement.

“Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger,” Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said.

Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen's internationally recognised government similarly condemned the alleged sabotage.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1482031

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…