Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers were targeted in what it described as a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on May 13 that one of the vessels was on its way to pick up Saudi oil to be delivered to customers in the United States.
The attack on May 12 did not lead to any casualties or an oil spill but caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels, he added.
Earlier, the U.A.E. Foreign Ministry said four commercial vessels had been targeted by "sabotage operations" near its territorial waters without causing casualties.
It gave no details of the nature of the sabotage off the port city of Fujairah and didn't say who might stand behind it.
Fujairah is located south of the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The reported sabotage comes amid heightened regional tensions between the United States and Iran.
Last week, Washington announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group and a bomber task force to the Gulf to counter what U.S. officials called "clear indications" of threats from Iran to U.S. interests or its allies in the region.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said the alleged sabotage in the Gulf of Oman constitutes a "dangerous threat to the safety of navigation and affects negatively regional and international security."
The Iranian Foreign Ministry described the incidents as "alarming and regrettable," called for further clarification about what exactly happened, and warned of "adventurism" by foreign players to disrupt maritime security in the region.