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Iranian Tanker Damaged After Explosion off Jeddah

An Iranian crude oil tanker has suffered explosions and caught fire in a suspected missile attack off the Saudi Arabian coast.

The incident occurred some 96 kilometers from the port of Jeddah in the morning hours of October 11, 2019, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

Identified as the 159,681 dwt Sabiti, the vessel is owned by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

The two separate explosions caused heavy damage to two of the ship’s main oil tanks and the 274-meter-long Sabiti is now leaking oil into the Red Sea, ISNA reported.

Technical experts are investigating the cause of the explosion which is likely to be “the result of a terrorist attack”, NIOC said in a statement.

There were no injuries or casualties reported.

Although the tanker is continuing spilling oil, it is said to be in a stable condition and in full control of its crew, a spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

The newest incident comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and Saudia Arabia following a missile and drone attack on two Saudi Arabian oil facilities in September 2019. Although Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, Saudi Arabia and the United States accused Iran of launching missiles and drones.

World Maritime News Staff