Iranian govt decries Sabiti attack as “cowardly”

An attack on fully laden Suezmax tanker Sabiti (IMO 9172040) off Saudi Arabia on Friday October 11th was called “cowardly” by Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabei on Saturday. The spokesman said that Iran would respond after the facts surrounding the incident became clearer.

“Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts,” Rabei said, according to official news agency IRNA.

There was a leakage of cargo from the tanker, which was apparently hit by two missiles in Red Sea waters, but by Saturday this had been stopped, Iranian news agency Mehr reported.

“The tanker is heading for Persian Gulf waters and we hope it will enter Iranian waters safely The cargo leakage has stopped”, said Mehr, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

The incident, which has not yet been confirmed independently, generated no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia. Potential origination points for the missiles were speculated as Saudi Arabia or Israel, or perhaps even a terrorist incident.

Iranian state-run television said that the tanker, on its way to Syria, was hit by missiles, but reported the National Oil Company as denying that they came from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the ship was hit twice, without saying what struck it. Crude oil prices jumped briefly by about 2% on the news.

A fully laden Iranian suezmax belonging to NITC has been hit by two explosions in the Red Sea, while en route to Syria, with vast quantities of crude gushing from its breached hull.

The Sabiti was hit by two missiles in two different places which caused an explosion in the cargo tanks area, between 05:00 and 05:20 on Friday while sailing in the Red Sea some 60 miles Southwest of Jeddah. The hull was breached in the accident. The ship was said to be stable and the crew uninjured .

1999-built, Iran-flagged, 81,749 gt Sabiti is owned by Europe Transportation Ltd care of NITC of Tehran, Iran.