Missiles hit Iran oil tanker off Saudi coast

An Iranian tanker was been hit by two missiles in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia today leading to an oil leak which is now under control, Iranian state news agency IRNA has said.

The Sabiti tanker was set ablaze and suffered heavy damage and was leaking crude about 96 kilometres from the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

“The leak of oil has stopped and the situation is under control,” IRNA said.

Shipping data released by Refinitiv shows the Sabiti tanker now “using engine” heading to Iran’s Larak port in the Gulf.

ISNA cited a source saying the vessel was struck in a “terrorist” attack. Iran’s state television reported that two of its tanks were damaged.

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Iran’s Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the crew was safe.

Al Jazeera‘s Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said the tanker “does the Syria route”, claiming it was heading to the sanctions hit country.  “This is the third time in the past six months that an Iranian tanker has been incapacitated in these waters,” he noted.

According to the website Tankertrackers, the vessel was the largest-sized tanker, and was fully loaded with one million barrels of oil.

This comes as tensions in the region have been heightened by attacks on Saudi oil facilities on 14 September which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi group, but which both the US and Saudi believe were orchestrated by Iran. Claims Tehran denies.

Saudi and UAE oil tankers have also been attacked in Gulf water in recent months with America sending more troops to the area to protect global oil supplies.

Oil prices jumped two per cent after reports of the tanker explosion, with benchmark Brent and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rising more than $1 a barrel.

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