Saudi authorities reported today that on Friday they received a message from the Iranian tanker that was allegedly attacked near the city of Jeddah, on the west coast of the kingdom, but that when they tried to help the ship, it had disconnected its communication systems.
A spokesman for the General Directorate of the Saudi Border Guard told the official news agency, SPA, that at 11:47 local time (08:47 GMT) on Friday the coast station of Jeddah reported that he had received a message of the captain of the Iranian vessel Sabiti, located off the Saudi coast in the Red Sea.
In that message, the captain reported that the ship had suffered a "break" in its front, which caused a spill of the oil it carried.
However, according to SPA, when the Saudi authorities contacted the tanker to "provide him with the necessary assistance," the vessel had continued sailing and was already about 67 nautical miles southwest of the port of Jeddah.
The oil tanker had also disabled the radar tracking system and was not responding to calls from the Saudi Border Guard, his spokesman added to the state agency, which did not identify the person responsible.
The Iranian government confirmed yesterday that the ship had suffered attacks near the Saudi city of Jeddah and that they had been carried out "from a place near its passage corridor in the east of the Red Sea," holding the perpetrators responsible for the attack of the oil spill caused.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abas Musaví said the situation of the tanker is under control and that "investigations into the details and the perpetrators of this dangerous movement continue," according to the Iranian official IRNA news agency.
The tanker, operated by the National Petroleum Company of Iran (NIOC), was attacked twice while it was about 60 miles from Jeddah and the explosions caused an oil spill into the Red Sea.
In the past months there have been several incidents involving tankers that have raised tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which accuse each other of sabotage in the Strait of Hormuz and in the waters where a good part of the crude oil transits world.
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