Saudi Arabia reported this morning that two of its oil tankers had been ‘sabotaged’ off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. Heavy damage to both vessels was described.
The incident comes as tension between the United States and Iran escalated over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and the Trump administration pulling out of the so-called Iran ‘nuclear deal’.
The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels were sabotaged near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz, but did not say who was behind the attack or describe the nature of it, reported CNBC.
Iran called for an ‘investigation’ into the attack. The foreign ministry called the incidents “worrisome and dreadful” and asked for an investigation into the matter. A senior Iranian lawmaker said “saboteurs from a third country” could be behind it, after saying on Sunday that the incident showed that the security of Gulf states is fragile, reported CNBC.
Holes were seen in two of the ships by local observers, looked to be caused by some type of weapon. A total of four tankers near UAE were said to be damaged.
Early on Sunday, Lebanon’s pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting Gulf sources, reported that a series of powerful explosions had struck the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, reportedly targeting seven tankers. 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 in the incident, reported Zero Hedge.
Oil markets rose across the globe as the news could disrupt supplies. Harming the oil markets and Western interests seem to be the goal of the attacks.
Iran is a primary suspect; however, other nations could also be assisting in the effort, like China or Russia, who would benefit from weakening the U.S. position.
Donald Trump’s push to make America energy independent has reduced the impact on the American consumer and American business of these types of attacks in the Persian Gulf where a large portion of the world’s oil still transits to its final destination.
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