Iran Says US, Saudi, Israel behind ‘Cowardly’ Tanker Attack

Damage seen on MT Sabiti, images via Iranian Oil Ministry

Iran says Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia might be behind the recent “cowardly” attack on its oil tanker in the Red Sea, to which Iran will definitely give a crushing response.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Wednesday video evidence had provided leads about the incident. “A special committee has been set up to investigate the attack on Sabiti… with two missiles and its report will soon be submitted to the authorities for decision,” Shamkhani noted.

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Zarif: Attack on Iranian oil tanker was state-sponsored

Damage seen on MT Sabiti, images via Iranian Oil Ministry

EHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Tuesday that “one or more countries” had directed or facilitated the Friday morning attack on the Iranian SABITI oil tanker off the Saudi coast in the Red Sea.

Zarif also said the raid on SABITI was a “state-sponsored act”. He added, “According to received intelligence the Friday assault on the Iranian oil tanker was a complicated move done by one or more states.”

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Iran releases images of damaged tanker

Following Friday’s (12th) reported attack on the Iranian oil tanker, MT Sabiti, the Iranian Oil Ministry has finally released images showing the damage to the vessel. The incident on Friday reportedly took place around 60 miles off Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the Red Sea as the ship reportedly transited towards Suez. The Iranian National Oil Company (NOIC) initially suggested that the ship had been struck by two missiles.

Iran accused Saudi Arabia of attacking the vessel, something which Saudi Arabia naturally denied.

The images released appear to show three holes above the water line. The impact caused a small oil spill which has now been sealed, according to Iranian sources. The US Navy stated on Friday that it was aware of the reports but had nothing further to add.

The incident remains extremely curious. Reports have also suggested that the Iranian ‘spy ship’ MV Saviz was seen close by the Sabiti following the incident. The vessel’s AIS appears to have been disabled shortly afterwards. According to Maritime Bulletin:

SAVIZ as of now, is full of arms and military equipment, plus her own 4 50-mm guns, surveillance equipment, special forces team and 3 RHIBs.

While it’s very easy to speculate as to who could have perpetrated such an attack and the motivation behind it, logic dictates that we await further information. Iran has announced an investigation into the incident, which may take some time to complete and is unlikely to involve independent inspectors.

Damage seen on MT Sabiti, images via Iranian Oil Ministry
Damage seen on MT Sabiti, images via Iranian Oil Ministry

‘Explosion’ on Iranian oil tanker off Saudi coast – reports

An explosion has caused a fire on an Iranian tanker near the coast of Saudi Arabia, Iranian media say.

The vessel, from Iran’s national oil company (NOIC), was 60 miles (97km) from the Saudi port city of Jeddah when the incident took place, reports said.

The ship’s two main storage tanks were said to be damaged, causing an oil spill into the Red Sea, but no-one was injured.

NOIC claimed the vessel was hit by missiles, but did not provide evidence.

Iran’s national tanker company (NITC) said the fire had been put out and the oil spillage reduced to a minimum, according to the news site Iran Front Page.

Iranian state TV identified the ship as the oil tanker Sinopa. The maritime vessel tracking firm Tanker Trackers said the tanker was regularly used to ferry oil to the Syrian government, despite international sanctions.

The incident came amid heightened tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Last month, 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

And US officials said Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf in June and July, as well as attacks on another four tankers in May.

Iran denied involvement in all the incidents.


The ‘Sabiti’ oil tanker after the attack, on Oct. 11th Source: National Iranian Tanker Co.

Royal Navy guardians protect 7m tonnes of shipping in Gulf

Over seven million tonnes of British shipping – the equivalent of around 20 wartime convoys – have been guided safely through the Strait of Hormuz by the Royal Navy.

HMS Montrose, her sister frigate HMS Kent and destroyers HM Ships Duncan and Defender – have accompanied British flagged and registered merchant ships in and out of the Gulf amid tensions with Iran.

Grateful seafarers have labelled the Royal Navy vessels ‘guardians of the Gulf’ for their efforts providing protection in the narrow waters separating Iran on the north shore and Oman and the UAE since the beginning of July.

The warships, plus their helicopters, have been used to accompany and watch over merchant shipping to ensure they can pass into and out of the Gulf safely, keeping international trade – especially oil and natural gas – flowing in the face of threats.

Most recently HMS Kent has borne the burden of patrols, spending three weeks in the strait, providing safe passage for in excess of 800,000 tonnes of shipping.

“We are a close-knit team and I am extremely proud of what my sailors have achieved over the last few months,” said Commander Andrew Brown, HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer.

The ship uses her Wildcat helicopter to scour hundreds of square miles of the Gulf for any signs of danger – merchant shipping needs accompanying through an area twice the size of Wales.

“Controlling our helicopter in such a busy area of the world can at times be extremely stressful,” said Leading Aircraft Controller Lewis Jackson. “The constant training we receive enables us to do our job in a calm and safe manner and at an extremely professional level.”

Beyond the physical and mental challenges of the escort mission, the 200-plus sailors and Royal Marines aboard the warships are still contending with demanding temperatures – in the high 30s Celsius by day – even at the end of September.

HMS Duncan, which returned to Portsmouth at the weekend, made 29 runs through the Strait, watching over 1,287,209 tonnes of merchant shipping.

Commander Tom Trent said his ship’s company found the mission challenging but also “very rewarding. We had emails from the ships we helped thanking us for getting them through safely.

“Protecting shipping is what the Royal Navy has done for hundreds of years. The whole operation is a reminder of how critical the Royal Navy is.”

Operations in the Strait of Hormuz to protect British shipping continues on a daily basis.


UK tanker leaves Iranian port after being seized in July

Persian Gulf/SoH

DUBAI (Reuters) – The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port on Friday after being detained since July by Iranian forces and was heading toward international waters.

The Stena Impero was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. The Iranian ship was released in August.

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British tanker Stena Impero still held in Iran: owner

Persian Gulf/SoH

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Iranian authorities have yet to release the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero even though the vessel, seized by Iranian forces in July, has been cleared to leave port, its Swedish owner said on Wednesday.

“At this point we are simply waiting for the guards onboard to leave and for the ship to receive clearance to sail,” Stena Bulk Chief Executive Erik Hanell said in a text message.

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