Tensions rise after Saudi oil tankers attacked off UAE

Two Saudi oil tankers were severely damaged in a “sabotage attack” in waters off the coast of Fujairah on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported citing the kingdom’s energy minister Khalid Al-Falih.

The minister’s statement came shortly after United Arab Emirates (UAE) said four commercial ships were attacked off Fujairah.

Fujairah, an emirate on the UAE’s east coast, is located near the Strait of Hormuz, above, one of the strategic points for global oil shipments.   

There was no oil spill or human casualties due to the incident, Al-Falih said.  

According to him, one of the tankers was heading towards the kingdom to be loaded with crude oil for Saudi Aramco customers in the US.

Al-Falih did not describe how the ships were sabotaged or name the group or country behind the attacks.

The attackers wanted to undermine the security of oil supplies to consumers worldwide, he said.

Iran, which is facing the threat of an attack from the US for its “destabilising influence in the Middle East”, called the incident regrettable and sought a detailed probe.

Tehran called for vigilance by regional states against foreign elements trying to foment trouble.

Washington has issued a new warning to sailors while UAE’s allies have condemned the attack.

 Earlier on Sunday, the UAE said that local and international agencies were investigating the incident.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday that the incident could lead to further escalation in the region.

He called the attack on oil tankers a violation of Arab national security.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) described the attack as a dangerous development.

The incident happened amid growing tensions between Iran and the US.