EghtesadOnline: Iran on Monday expressed concerns over incidents involving ships off the coast of the UAE and called for vigilance against any plot to destabilize the region.
The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels suffered sabotage near Fujairah emirate, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz—a vital global oil and gas shipping route that separates the Persian Gulf states and Iran. It did not say who was behind the operation, Reuters reported.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was cited by ISNA as saying that such "worrisome" incidents have a negative impact on maritime transportation security, Financial Tribune reported.
He also cautioned regional countries against any "conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers" and "adventurism by outsiders" aimed at undermining the region's stability and security, and called for an investigation into all aspects of the so-called “sabotage”.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia also said two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels targeted by a "sabotage attack" off the coast of the UAE, condemning it as an attempt to endanger the security of global crude supplies.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement that one of the two Saudi vessels attacked was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude from Ras Tanura Port for delivery to state-owned Saudi Aramco's customers in the United States.
The attack did not lead to any casualties or an oil spill, but caused significant damage to the vessels' structures, said the statement.
INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, said in a note that it has seen pictures showing that "at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon".
Trading and shipping sources identified the Saudi vessels as Bahri-owned very large crude carrier tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah.
The UAE Foreign Ministry has said there were no casualties and the Fujairah Port operations were normal. An investigation has been launched in coordination with international authorities, it said.
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry in a separate statement voiced support for its close regional ally, the UAE, the Middle East's trade and business hub.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the head of Arab League, on Monday condemned the attacks as "criminal acts", declaring in a statement that these acts are a "serious violation of the freedom and integrity of trade and maritime transport routes".
Gheit said the Arab League stands by the UAE and Saudi Arabia "in all measures taken to safeguard their security and interests".