Two Saudi oil tankers were attacked while on the way to supply customers in the US, adding to regional tensions as the Trump Administration increases pressure on Iran.
The Saudi tankers were damaged on Sunday while on their way to cross into the Persian Gulf, the world’s most important oil transport route, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. The U.A.E.’s foreign ministry reported on Sunday an attack on commercial vessels near its territorial waters as a “serious development."
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih denounced the attack which he said aims “to undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world," according to SPA. He called on the international 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."
The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf. The US has deployed an aircraft carrier, bomber planes and defense missiles to the region amid rising tensions with Iran, which has threatened to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the US succeeds in halting its energy exports. Antagonism between the countries worsened this month since Trump eliminated exceptions to US sanctions on Iranian oil. The Islamic Republic responded by threatening to scale back its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal.
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.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.