Iran Reports Explosion at Its Oil Tanker off Saudi Arabia

All reports said that the reported explosion happened off the coast of Jeddah in the Red Sea.

1 min read
 Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter patrolling the Gulf shows the MV Stena Impero, background, as it sails from the port at Bandar Abbas.

An explosion damaged an Iranian oil tanker traveling through the Red Sea near Saudi Arabia on Friday, 11 October, Iranian media reported. There was no immediate word from Saudi Arabia on the reported blast.

State television said the explosion damaged two storerooms aboard the unnamed oil tanker and caused an oil leak into the Red Sea. It did not elaborate.

The state-run IRNA news agency and others relied on an online news report for their stories, while the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted an anonymous source with direct knowledge of the incident.

All reports said that the explosion happened off the coast of Jeddah on the Red Sea.

Lt Pete Pagano, a spokesman for the US Navy's 5th Fleet overseeing the Mideast, said authorities there were “aware of reports of this incident,” but declined to comment further.

The explosion could push tensions between Iran and the US even higher, more than a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions now crushing Iran's economy.

The mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shooting down a US military surveillance drone, and other incidents across the wider Middle East have followed Trump's decision.

The latest assault saw Saudi Arabia's vital oil industry come under a drone-and-cruise-missile attack, halving the kingdom's output. The US has blamed Iran for the attack, something Tehran denies.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, whom the kingdom is fighting in a years-long war, claimed that assault, though analysts say the missiles used in the attack wouldn't have had the range to reach the sites from Yemen.

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