Iran has warned its neighbors in the Persian Gulf to practice vigilance in the face of plots by “ill-wishers” to undermine maritime navigation in the strategic region, which acts as a gateway to a huge chunk of the world’s oil.
In a statement issued early Monday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Moussavi described as “lamentable” and “worrying” acts of sabotage against a number of vessels off the coast the United Arab Emirates.
Calling for thorough investigations, the Iranian official blamed the incident on “adventurism by foreign players” who sought to disrupt maritime navigation in the Persian Gulf.
The remarks came a day after the UAE said four commercial vessels had been targeted by what it called acts of “sabotage” in international waters near the strategic oil bunkering terminal of al-Fujairah.
It was reported earlier on Sunday that up to seven oil tankers had been destroyed as a result of a massive fire at the port.
Emirati officials first tried to suppress the news.
The media office of the government of Fujairah denied the reports, saying no explosion had taken place and that transit and other activities at the port were underway as usual.
The Emarat al-Youm daily also quoted Brigadier Ali Obaid al-Taniji, the director of the department of civil defense in Fujairah, as saying that there had been no fire or explosion at the strategic port.
The censorship attempts, however, faltered as shortly after the attack the names and the international identification numbers of five of the vessels destroyed in the port blaze were leaked to the media.
Amjad tanker – Saudi Arabia – IMO: 9779800
Al Marzooqah tanker – Saudi Arabia – IMO: 9165762
Miraj oil/chemical tanker – Dominica – IMO: 9394741
A.Michel bunkering tanker – UAE – IMO: 9177674
FNSA10 tanker – UAE – IMO: 9432074
Some reports claim that oil exports wthe UAE, which is building the world’s largest crude oil storage facility in Fujairah, has come to a halt.
The Fujairah port is capable of storing up to 14 million barrels of oil, outside the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.