Blasts hit Iran-owned oil tanker near Saudi port city | News | DW | 11.10.2019
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Blasts hit Iran-owned oil tanker near Saudi port city

An Iranian oil tanker has suffered explosions on board, Iran's state-run news agency and other media say. The owners said the explosions were likely caused by missile strikes.

This undated photo shows the Iranian-owned Sabity oil tanker sailing in the Red Sea(Reuters/National Iranian Oil Tanker Company/WANA)

This undated photo shows the Iranian-owned Sabity oil tanker sailing in the Red Sea

An Iranian oil tanker was hit by explosions near the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Friday, the ship's owner said.

The National Iranian Tanker Company was cited by media as saying the hull of the ship was hit by two separate explosions, adding that they were "probably caused by missile strikes." The company later denied media reports that it had said the missiles came from Saudi Arabia.

The company also contradicted earlier media reports of a fire on board.

It said the vessel, identified as the Sabity, was about 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the Saudi coast at the time of the explosions. Initial reports had identified the ship as the Sinopa. 

State-run news agency ISNA cited unnamed sources as saying the explosions had caused substantial damage and an oil spill in the Red Sea. State television said two storerooms aboard were damaged.

Oil prices rose 2% after the news was reported.

Tensions rising

The news agency said experts believed the blast was caused by a terrorist attack. According to Iran's Nour news, the crew was safe and the situation was under control.

 The reported explosion comes amid heightened tensions across the Middle East, with the US alleging that Iran has attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran denies the charges, as it does allegations that it was behind a recent drone-and-cruise-missile attack on a Saudi oil facility.

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed that attack, though analysts say the missiles used did not have sufficient range to have been fired from Yemen.

 tj/sms (Reuters, AP)

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