UAE reports rare 'acts of sabotage' against 4 boats off its coast

Lebanon-Based Media Claims Blasts Rock Fujairah Port UAE Officials Deny Reports

Lebanon-Based Media Claims Blasts Rock Fujairah Port UAE Officials Deny Reports

Saudi Arabia on Monday said two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

A statement from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom's two oil tankers, including one due to later carry crude to the USA, sustained "significant damage".

One of the Saudi ships had planned to deliver crude from the Port of Ras Tanura to the United States, officials said.

The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off the emirate of Fujairah.

"The global community (needs to) assume its responsibilities to prevent any parties trying to undermine the security and safety of maritime traffic", the ministry said. Meanwhile, the passage is also a significant route for liquid natural gas (LNG) from Qatar, one of the world's largest exporters.

A USA official told The Associated Press that American naval investigators were assisting the Emiratis with their probe of the incident.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, May 8, 2018.

The United Arab Emirates has said that four commercial ships were yesterday sabotaged in the Persian Gulf.

The warnings come at a time of heightened tensions between the USA and Iran.

He says the Arab League stands by the UAE and Saudi Arabia "in all measures taken to safeguard their security and interests". Iran is to the north and the U.A.E. and Oman to the south. Hormuz is the single most important waterway for global oil shipments, with tankers hauling about 40per cent of all the crude traded internationally every day.

The attack did not lead to any casualties or an oil spill but caused significant damage to the vessels' structures, he said.

The kingdom's Foreign Ministry condemned the incident in a statement published on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Monday as a "criminal act" that threatens the "safety of maritime traffic, which reflects negatively on regional and global peace and security".

The Strait of Hormuz is the only sea passage from Persian Gulf to Arabian Sea.

As the White House intensifies its "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran, Iranian officials are weighing their options too with the question of whether Iran would ever close the Strait of Hormuz. Mousavi cautioned against any kind of conspiracy hatched by foreigners to disturb the region's peace and stability, the channel said.

Last week the Maritime Administration said Iran could target US commercial ships including oil tankers sailing through Middle East waterways. Iran has said it will not let its oil exports be halted.

"This is a unsafe escalation representing evil intentions by those that planned and executed this operation", GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement.

And the alleged sabotage of the merchant ships comes as aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers are deployed to bolster the American Navy's grip on the region.

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