Saudi Arabia, UAE, Norway: ‘State actor’ attacked oil tankers

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have told the United Nations Security Council that a “state actor” was behind attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last month.

The Saudi MV Al Marzoqah oil tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman May 12

U.N. representatives of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway presented the report to the Security Council Thursday. All three nations owned tankers that were damaged in the May 12 assaults. U.S. and Saudi officials have previously said Iran was responsible.

While investigators did not specifically name Iran in their report to the council, they said the sophistication, the types of devices used and the skill shown in the attacks are hallmarks of someone with “significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor.”

“Based on the evaluation of radar data, and the short time several of the targeted vessels had been at anchor prior to the attacks, it appears most likely that the mines were placed on the vessels by divers deployed from fast boats,” the report said.

The investigation added that the divers were able to identify the four tankers among some 200 vessels in the area, use limpet bombs and place them in such a way where they would disable the ships without sinking them or damaging cargo.

Deputy Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov cautioned the Security Council not to “jump to conclusions” over the investigation’s results. Since the attacks, Russia has called for de-escalation of tensions in the region.

The report did say, however, that strikes occurred less than 13 miles from the UAE coastline — endangering international commercial navigation and threatening “international peace and security.”

ByClyde Hughes