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2 Saudi oil tankers among 4 ‘sabotaged’ off UAE

DUBAI/LONDON: Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two of its oil tankers were among those attacked off the coast of the UAE and said it was an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid tensions between the United States and Iran. 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 describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.

The UAE had not given the nationalities or other details about the ownership of the four vessels. Riyadh has identified two of them as Saudi and a Norwegian firm has said it owned another. Details of the fourth ship were not clear.

Iran, which is embroiled in an escalating war of words with the US, moved to distance itself on Monday. Iran’s 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 the incident showed the security of Gulf states was fragile.

US withdrew last year from a 2015 pact between Iran and global powers aimed at reining in Tehran’s nuclear plans. Since then, the US has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran, saying it wanted to reduce its oil exports to zero. Highlighting international concerns, UK’s foreign minister Jeremy Hunt warned of the risks of “a conflict happening by accident” with an unintended escalation between Washington and Tehran over an unravelling nuclear deal.

A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz from West Asia crude producers to major markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond. The waterway separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.

News credit : Indiatimes