Initial US assessment blames Iran for ship attacks off UAE coast

Lloyd Doyle
May 14, 2019

Pictures have shown damage to the Emirati tanker, which may now be leaking bunkering fuel, while the Andre Victoria appears to have suffered damage to its hull from what looks like a possible collision. Saudi Arabia said Monday two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates near Fujairah in attacks that caused "significant damage" to the vessels, one of them as it was en route to pick up Saudi oil to take to the United States.

The UAE said the attacks occurred in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.

The strait-which forms a tiny passage from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman-is the "world's most important oil chokepoint", according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The minister's statement stressed the responsibility of the worldwide community to "protect the safety of maritime navigation and 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".

Each ship had a 5-to-10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, a US official told The Associated Press.

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry in a separate statement voiced support for the UAE, the Middle East's trade and business hub.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called the incidents "worrisome and dreadful", and asked for an investigation into aspects of the matter.

Global crude benchmark Brent for July settlement rose as much as $1.38 on Monday to $72/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

- Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions under a 2015 deal with the United States and five other global powers. Gulf stock markets fell on Monday, with Dubai down 2.6 per cent and the Saudi index down over 2 per cent.

The Saudi-flagged oil tanker Al Marzoqah.

The Strait of Hormuz also has a unique ability to scare oil traders.

- Most crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq - all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - is shipped through the waterway.

'Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or us military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf'.

The White House's all-sticks-and-no-carrots approach to Iran one year after the USA pulled out of the JCPOA has left Washington without that diplomatic leverage.

In response to the question "what can Iran and Turkey jointly do tackle United States sanctions?", the Turkish expert said that if the two countries bring their stances closer to each other and take a closer approach towards issues such as Iraq and Syria, they will be able to form a regional coalition and also will be able to reduce the effects of the external threats.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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