Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers suffered "significant damage" in a "sabotage attack" early Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. deployed an aircraft carrier, bomber planes and defense missiles to the region last week amid worsening friction with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.
"The worldwide community should carry out its responsibilities to prevent any parties trying to harm maritime security and safety, which would be considered a threat to global safety and security", it added.
Saudi officials haven't disclosed casualties or whether there was an oil spill from the incident, but said it caused "significant damage to the structures of the two vessels", reported CNN. It did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.
Fujairah's port is located about 85 miles from the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of all oil at sea is traded.
Iran borders the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
One of the ships was en route to a Saudi port to be loaded with crude oil to be sent to the USA, al-Falih said. The strait is vital oil and natural gas corridor for the global energy market. It said an investigation was launched in coordination with worldwide authorities and called on global powers to prevent any parties trying to harm maritime safety. In that specific case of the U.S. sailors, then-Secretary of State John Kerry was able to call Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and secure their release.
In a tweet, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said investigations in the incident were ongoing but that the government had its "own readings and conclusions".
Mousavi also urged the regional countries to be vigilant in the face of any act of adventurism by outsiders. Since then, Washington has ratcheted up sanctions on Tehran, saying it wanted to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero.
However, the incident raises questions about maritime security in the UAE, home to Dubai's Jebel Ali port, the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world that is also the U.S. Navy's busiest port of call outside of America.
Two Saudi oil tankers and a Norwegian-flagged vessel were damaged in what Gulf officials described as a "sabotage" attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf Cooperation Council - which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - condemned the alleged attack in a statement, calling it a "serious escalation".
"These irresponsible acts only adds to the tension and conflict in the region and jeopardize the interests of their peoples".
Spokesman of the Secretary-General Mahmoud Afifi said Aboul Gheit considers the threats to the land or sea borders or transportation and trade routes of any Arab member of the Arab League as an unacceptable violation of Arab national security.
British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt called for "a period of calm".
"We are very anxious about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict", Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Belgium.