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Four ships 'sabotaged' in the Gulf of Oman amid tensions

May 14, 2019 5:25 am

Four commercial ships were targets of a “sabotage attack” off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday, the country’s foreign affairs ministry has said.

The incident reportedly took place near Fujairah port, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, but caused no casualties.

Saudi Arabia confirmed that two Saudi oil tankers sustained “significant damage”.

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Another vessel was Norwegian-registered, whilst the fourth was reportedly UAE-flagged.

Iran, which borders the strait, has called for a full investigation.

Tensions are high in the region. About a fifth of oil that is consumed globally passes through the area.

Last month, Iran threatened to “close” the Strait of Hormuz if it was prevented from using the waterway.

This followed a US decision to end exemptions from sanctions for major importers of Iranian oil.

The US has deployed warships to the region in recent days to counter what it called “clear indications” of threats from Iran to its forces and maritime traffic. Iran dismissed that allegation as nonsense.

A US military official told the BBC that, at the UAE’s request, America had send “a team of experienced investigators” to help determine the cause of the damage.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unplanned visit to Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran with European foreign ministers.

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