Iran says oil tanker hit by two missiles, leaking crude into Red Sea

An Iranian oil tanker was struck by a pair of rockets off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea on Friday, Iranian officials said, the latest in a string of similar strikes.

Tehran said the oil tanker Sabiti, pictured, was attacked in the Red Sea near the port of Jaddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo by IRIB TV

The National Iranian Oil Co. tanker, Sabity, was hit by rockets some 60 miles from the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah as it was passing through the Red Sea, state-run IRNA reported.

All crew aboard were safe and the ship was in stable condition, sustaining only surface damage, but the vessel was leaking oil into the sea.

According to officials, there were two explosions on the vessel, causing damage to its main tanks, Iran’s semi-official Press TV reported.

The reports were followed by an oil price spike of 2.1 percent to $60.33 a barrel.

The incident follows drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities in mid-September that caused it to cut oil production, affecting markets worldwide.

Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are fighting a civil war with Saudi Arabia, claimed credit for the attack but the United States blamed Iran.

The United States has been applying a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran to force it back to the negotiating table concerning its nuclear program.

Tensions between the two countries have increased in recent months amid several similar skirmishes in the region involving tankers.

ByDarryl Coote