An Iranian oil tanker sailing 60 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia was shaken by two rockets on Friday. This caused a short-term oil leak and threatened to further fuel regional tensions between the two Muslim heavyweight nations.
Iranian state television reported that the explosions damaged two storage facilities aboard the oil tanker owned by the National Iranian Oil Company and caused an oil spill in the Red Sea near the Saudi port of Jeddah. The leak was later clogged, IRNA reported.
"This latest incident, if confirmed as an act of aggression, is most likely part of the broader narrative of worsening relations between Saudi Arabia and the US and Iran." a rating provided to the Associated Press by private security firm Dryad Maritime. "It is likely that the region, after being stable last month, will be exposed to another period of increasing maritime threats as the geopolitical distance between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues."
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The vessel identified by IRNA as Sibiti carried about 1 million barrels of crude oil, according to a data analysis, when it was struck company Refinitive.
The news agency did not state from whom Iranian officials could fire the missiles.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as an "attack" committed by "dangerous adventurers". "In a statement, Moussavi said Sabiti had been hit twice within half an hour and an investigation was in progress.
Images taken from the bridge of the ship, released by the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, did not appear to have any damage to the sabiti, although the ship's sides were not visible in the view. Satellite images of the area showed no visible smoke.
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There was no word from Saudi Arabia of the reported attack. Oil prices rose by two percent after news broke.
According to the AP, the Sabiti switched on their tracking devices in the Red Sea late Friday morning. The last time the ship switched on its tracking devices was in August near the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
Iranian tankers routinely turn off their trackers as the US impose sanctions aimed at selling Iran's crude oil.
Lt. Pete Pagano, a spokesman for the US Navy's 5th Fleet, which oversees the Middle East, said the authorities had "been aware of reports of this incident," but declined to comment further.
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The reported attack occurs after the US claims that Iran has oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the river in recent months Persian Gulf attacked what was denied by Tehran.
Fox News "Edmund DeMarche and the Associated Press have contributed to this report.