Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

UAE says four ships targeted by 'sabotage' off its east coast

UAE says four ships targeted by 'sabotage' off its east coast

The announcement comes amid increased tensions in the region between the United States and Iran, although no details have been released on the nature of the sabotage or who may have been responsible.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday (May 13) that two Saudi oil tankers were targeted on Sunday in "a sabotage attack" off the coast of Fujairah, part of the United Arab Emirates, threatening the security of global oil supplies.

UAE officials declined to say who they thought was behind whatever happened on the ships.

A senior Iranian lawmaker and head of parliament's national security committee, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, said yesterday that reports of "explosions" near Fujairah port showed the security of Gulf states was fragile.

The U.S. has issued a new alert to maritime traffic over alleged "acts of sabotage" of ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates amid heightened regional tensions between American and Iran.

The US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet told Reuters it was aware of the UAE report but referred queries to the UAE authorities.

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The UAE on Sunday said the sabotage targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects, reported Daily Express.

State media in Iran picked up the report from Al-Mayadeen, which later published the names of vessels it claimed were involved in the incident.

Several powerful explosions on Sunday hit the port of Fujairah in UAE following a huge fire that engulfed at least seven oil tankers, state media reported.

The US has recently been escalating pressure on Iran in the area, dispatching a carrier strike group with a bomber force as a "warning".

The facility handles oil for shipping, as well as general and bulk cargo. "Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or USA military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf". It is seen as strategically located, serving shipping routes in the Persian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent and Africa.

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