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Iran Again Raises The Alleged Attack On Its Oil Tanker In Red Sea

A picture released by Iranian State TV IRIB allegedly shows the Iranian crude oil tanker Sabiti sailing in the Red Sea, October 10, 2019

Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) said in a statement October 13 that the Iranian oil tanker Sabiti had probably been hit by two missiles last Friday.

Earlier, Iranian news outlets had reported that Sabiti was twice hit about sixty miles off the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah in the Red Sea.

Describing the incident as a "terrorist attack", the government controlled Iranian tanker company NITC claimed that Sabiti called Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, for help, but did not receive any response.

Refinitiv ship-tracking firm indicated that Sabiti was in the Red Sea and heading south under its own power, bound for Larak, off Iran's southern Persian Gulf coast.

The ship's Automatic Identification System (AIS), which gives its position, appeared to have been off for two months until transmissions resumed on Oct. 11, shortly after the incident, Refinitiv data showed.

The incident, yet to be independently confirmed, is the latest involving oil tankers in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf region and will likely ratchet up tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, regional rivals involved in a proxy war in Yemen, which lies at the southern end of the Red Sea.

Nevertheless, Iran on October 12 said it was willing to meet with Saudi officials, with or without a mediator.

Meanwhile, speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, held in Tehran on Sunday, the Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani said that during his talks with Khan earlier in the day, he had expressed Iran's concerns about the security of oil tankers, particularly about the incident that happened to the Iranian oil tanker Sabiti,.

"We provided the Pakistani prime minister with the clues we have found in this regard and emphasized that we will continue our investigations until achieving a final result and ascertaining the main factors behind the attack on the Iranian oil tanker," Rouhani said.

"It is an absolute mistake for a country to think that it could create insecurity in the region without receiving a response," Rouhani warned.

Map locating the site of an Iranian oil tanker, allegedly hit by missiles Friday according to the owners.
Map locating the site of an Iranian oil tanker, allegedly hit by missiles Friday according to the owners.