Tuesday, 21 May, 2019


President Trump warns Iran: Target America and your regime 'will suffer greatly'

UAE says four vessels targets of 'sabotage' in waters near Fujairah port Four ships 'sabotaged' off the coast of the UAE amid fears Iran is targeting US-supporting vessels
Conrad Doyle | 14 May, 2019, 06:42

Sky News Arabia, a satellite channel partly owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, aired footage of a tanker identified as the Al Marzoqah that it said had been targeted.

Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers were among several attacked by saboteurs off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the port of Fukairah, according to a statement Monday by the Riyadh government.

Thome Ship Management, a Norwegian firm which manages the ship, said in a statement that had been "struck by an unknown object on the waterline" while anchored off Fujairah.

USA defense officials told VOA that the US military is assisting in the investigation of the sabotage at the request of the UAE government.

The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off the emirate of Fujairah.

In our news wrap Monday, three oil tankers were reportedly sabotaged in the Persian Gulf, with suspicions that Iran may have been involved. One of the two Saudi tankers was on its way to the port of Ras Tanura to load oil for shipment to the US, according to SPA.

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) did not respond to a request for comment. It is the world's most important oil artery. He urged the worldwide community to ensure the security of oil tankers "to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets, and the danger they pose to the global economy".

VESSELS transiting the Strait of Hormuz are keeping security levels under review after four tankers were subject to unspecified "acts of sabotage" off the world's biggest bunkering hub of Fujairah on Sunday. The United States said the Vincennes was in the area to protect neutral vessels against Iranian navy attacks.

The U.S. Maritime Administration had warned about an attack by "Iran or its proxies" on oil facilities or vessels in the region last week, said CNN.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi expressed concern over the incident and its possible consequences.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 global deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran. The UAE foreign ministry also dismissed as "baseless and unfounded" reports about United States and French warplanes flying over Fujairah during the time of these tanker blasts. India and seven other countries who had got a sanctions waiver from the United States for the past six months were refused an extension of the waiver - this meant India had to stop buying Iranian oil including closing down the rupee account that it used to pay for Iranian oil.

Oil prices jumped on Monday on news that two Saudi oil tankers were supposedly attacked near the Persian Gulf, raising fears that supply may be at risk. It said it was investigating "in co-operation with local and global bodies". Both vessels suffered "significant damage" in the incident, it said.

As the White House intensifies its "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran, Iranian officials are weighing their options too with the question of whether Iran would ever close the Strait of Hormuz.

- In January 2012, Iran threatened to block the Strait in retaliation for the USA and European sanctions that targeted its oil revenues in an attempt to stop Tehran's nuclear programme.

The incident came after the U.S. Maritime Administration, a division of the U.S. Transportation Department, warned Thursday that Iran could target commercial sea traffic.

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