DUBAI (Reuters) – An explosion set ablaze an Iranian oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, Iranian state media reported on Friday, adding that experts suspected it was a “terrorist attack”.
The tanker, owned by National Iranian Oil Company, had suffered heavy damage and was leaking oil into the Red Sea some 60 miles from Jeddah, unnamed sources told Iran’s Students News Agency ISNA.
“Experts believe it was a terrorist attack,” a source told ISNA.
The Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the crew was safe and gave the name of stricken vessel as “Sanitized”.
Tensions have been high between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia since an attack on the Kingdom’s two oil facilities on Sept. 14 that caused fires and damage and shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production – more than 5% of global oil supply.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a U.S. official said they originated from southwestern Iran. Riyadh blamed Tehran. Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s war, has denied any involvement.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Shri Navaratnam