Ships Sabotaged in UAE Waters Belonged to Norway, UAE, Saudi Arabia

UAE says four vessels targets of 'sabotage' in waters near Fujairah port

Four ships 'sabotaged' off the coast of the UAE amid fears Iran is targeting US-supporting vessels

The vessels sabotaged on Sunday in the Gulf of Oman were navigating under the flags of Saudi Arabia, Norway and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Al Arabiya news channel reported on Monday.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that one of the two Saudi vessels attacked was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude from Ras Tanura port for delivery to state-owned Saudi Aramco's customers in the United States.

Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were attacked while sailing toward the Persian Gulf, adding to regional tensions as the USA increases pressure on Iran.

The government of Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, in a tweet denied media reports about blasts inside Fujairah port and said the facility was operating normally.

- The UAE and Saudi Arabia have sought to find other routes to bypass the Strait, including building more oil pipelines. He urged the worldwide 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 Associated Press reported that a US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team's early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges".

Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi expressed "regret" toward Sunday's incident and called it "concerning".

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

The increasing tensions come as Teheran said last Wednesday (May 8) it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal with major powers.

Rising geopolitical tension has also weighed on stock markets in the Gulf this week. With little information about the oil tanker attacks, the incident stoked fears of a worst-case scenario: a confrontation between the US and Iran.

What is the Strait of Hormuz? UAE, however, did not name the countries of origin of all vessels. "If they do anything, it'll be a very bad mistake".

The attack off the coast of the UAE came just a day after the US warned of "an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against USA and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz", located less than 100 miles away and through which a third of the world's maritime oil traffic passes.

Araqchi also said another Iranian condition was to have full access to oil-export revenues and to spend them as it pleased, not only on food and medicine as proposed by European Union countries.

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