Iran claims oil tanker was struck with two missiles
Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Two separate explosions hit an Iranian oil tanker on Friday, which set the ship on fire, Iran’s ISNA news agency has reported.
The vessel is owned by Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC), who identified the tanker as the Sabiti. No casualties were reported in the incident.
The company also denied media reports citing it as saying missiles hit the oil tanker.
The Russian foreign ministry also said it was too early to say who is to blame for explosion.
The explosion caused heavy damage to two storerooms aboard the ship and oil was spilling in the Red Sea, state television said.
Iranian media agency IRNA later reported that “the leak of oil has stopped and the situation is under control”.
Tehran said on that Sabiti was still in the Red Sea, “but its route will change,” according to an official from the National Iranian Tanker Company.
“None of the crew members were injured at the explosion … the situation is under control,” ISNA reported.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is aware of media reports on the vessel, but said it does not have any further information, a spokesman said on Friday.
Oil prices surged more than two percent in response to the incident.
Sabiti turned on its tracking devices late Friday morning in the Red Sea, according to data from MarineTraffic.com.
The vessel last turned on its tracking devices in August near the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. Iranian tankers routinely turn off their trackers as US sanctions target the sale of Iran’s crude oil.
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