Images show damage after mysterious Iran oil tanker attack

Clay Curtis
October 14, 2019

State television said that the explosion destroyed two storerooms aboard the unnamed oil tanker and generated an oil flow to the Red Sea close to the Saudi port city of Jiddah.

"Piracy and evil deeds in worldwide waterways, which are carried out with the aim of making commercial ships' sailing insecure, will not go unanswered", Shamkhani said on Saturday. The ship was injured but now heading to the Persian Gulf, denying reports it was set on fire The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) said.

Iran on Friday released the British-flagged oil tanker it had seized in July 2019, while the country's president, said he had been told the United States had offered to lift sanctions if Tehran returned to the negotiating table over its nuclear program. In recent months, the US and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for several attacks in the region.

"All the ship's crew are safe and the ship is stable too", NITC said, adding those on board were trying to mend the damage. Saudi Arabia, the United States and Western European powers blamed Iran for the attack, which Tehran has denied.

The attack caused oil to spill from the tanker into the Red Sea, the NITC said, before it was controlled and the vessel began moving back towards Gulf waters.

Oil prices surged more than two per cent after the incident, which raised fresh concerns about the Middle East supply, with tensions still high after last month's attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

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Following the incident, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said that Tehran would give an "appropriate response" to the attack on the tanker, but first it would investigate who was behind the incident.

He said it was in response to "threats in the region", amid efforts to protect the kingdom from "Iranian aggression".

Saudi Arabia, it said, was committed to the security and safety of navigation and worldwide maritime laws.

In its analysis Friday, Dryad Maritime said the incident involving the Happiness 1 bore "the hallmarks of a potential explosive incident".

Iran said in August another oil tanker, the Helm, faced a technical failure while passing through the Red Sea, without elaborating. A spokesman for the company initially suggested that the missiles may have come from the direction of Saudi Arabia.

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