Two Saudi oil tankers were the targets of a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister says.
The incident near Fujairah port caused “significant damage” to the vessels, Khalid al-Falih said in a statement.
The UAE said four ships of various nationalities had been hit. There were no injuries or deaths.
The Iranian foreign ministry said the incidents were “worrisome and dreadful” and called for a full investigation.
Tensions are high in the area, through which about a fifth of oil that is consumed globally passes.
The US has deployed additional warships there in recent days to counter what it called “clear indications” of threats from Iran to its forces and maritime traffic in the region. Iran dismissed the allegation as nonsense.
What do we know about the ‘sabotage attack’?
“Two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, while on their way to cross into the Arabian Gulf,” Mr Falih said in a statement quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“One of the two vessels was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, to be delivered to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the United States.”
There were no injuries reported but the two tankers suffered significant damage to their structures, he added.
“The international community has a joint responsibility to protect the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers,” Mr Falih said.
On Sunday, the government of the emirate of Fujairah, which is part of the UAE, denied media reports that there had been explosions at its port.
US maritime authorities have urged caution when travelling in the area.