Saudi oil tankers damaged as Iran tension rise; 'serious development' says UAE


The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels were hit by sabotage near the emirate of Fujairah, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations today, 12th May, near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, has announced.

It gave no details about the nature of the sabotage and did not identify the vessels beyond saying they were of various nationalities. The alleged attack damaged the ships, but caused no casualties or oil spill.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as "concerning and regrettable" and called for efforts to shed light on what exactly happened, the semi-official Tasnim News reported.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said two of its oil tankers were the target of a "sabotage attack" off the coast of Fujairah.

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

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The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States which has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged threats from Teheran.

Hours before yesterday's sabotage, Lebanon's pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting 'Gulf sources, ' falsely reported that a series of explosions had struck the strategically located Fujairah's port.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said that the explosions near Fujairah port showed that the security of Gulf states is fragile, Reuters reported. It said it was investigating "in cooperation with local and worldwide bodies".

However, the reported incident came after the USA warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as America deploys an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran, though no official has given details of them.

"The global community should carry out its responsibilities to prevent any parties trying to harm maritime security and safety, which would be considered a threat to worldwide safety and security", it added.