Iran releases pictures of tanker attacked off Saudi

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran yesterday released pictures showing two gaping holes in the hull of an oil tanker it alleges was attacked off Saudi Arabia last week.

Tehran said the Iranian-flagged Sabiti tanker was hit by two separate explosions off the Red Sea port of Jeddah last Friday.

It is the first Iranian ship to have been targetted since a spate of attacks on vessels that Washington blamed on Tehran.

The images released by the tanker’s owner, the National Iranian Tanker Company (NTIC), are dated last Sunday and show two holes above the waterline on the ship’s starboard side.

The attack caused oil to spill from the tanker into the Red Sea, the NITC said, before it was eventually controlled and the vessel began slowly moving back towards waters.

The incident follows a series of unexplained attacks in May and June on shipping in and around the Gulf, a vital waterway linking oil-producing countries to world markets, as well as drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Washington accused Tehran of attacking the vessels with mines and to be behind the drone assault, something it strongly denied.

Iran said that the “cowardly” attack on its own tanker was caused by a missile strike and vowed not to let it go unanswered.

Photo taken last Sunday and released by the official news agency of the Iranian Oil Ministry, SHANA, shows the damage caused by two missiles that allegedly struck the Iranian oil tanker Sabiti, at the Red Sea. PHOTO: AP