An Iranian oil tanker was attacked by suspected missiles off the coast of Saudi Arabia, causing oil to leak into the Red Sea, according to Iranian media and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).
The hull of the Sabiti was hit by two separate explosions about 100 kilometers off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, the state-owned company said on October 11.
The statement said the blasts were "probably caused by missile strikes.”
But the claim has yet to be independently confirmed and there is still some confusion about the exact damage and the state of the vessel; whether it is capable of moving or is stuck where the incident took place.
Citing the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), state TV reported that the ship was hit by two missiles.
There was no immediate acknowledgement from Saudi officials of the incident, which comes amid heightened tensions 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 repair the damage.
"There is no fire" aboard the Sabiti and the ship is “completely stable," the statement said.
TankerTrackers.com reported that the vessel which had turned off its identification signal for the past 57 days, has turned it on again and is now moving toward the Persian Gulf, while IRNA says the ship has stopped moving.
The oil leak from the Iranian tanker “has stopped and the situation is under control," state-run IRNA news agency reported.
Iranian media earlier reported that an explosion had set the oil tanker on fire.
The blast caused heavy damages to the tanker, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
Experts on board to investigate suspected it was a "terrorist attack," the agency said, citing unidentified sources.
State television reported that the explosion damaged two storerooms.
A spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said the authorities there were "aware of reports of this incident," but declined to comment further.
The incident, which sent Benchmark Brent crude oil surging more than 2 percent to nearly $60.5, could heighten tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies
There was no immediate acknowledgement from Saudi officials of the incident, which comes amid heightened tensions across the Middle East.
In September missiles and drones hit key Saudi oil installations causing extensive damage and disruption to oil production. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Western European countries accused Iran of being behind the attack. Iran has denied involvement in all these incidents.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP