Missile Attack on Iranian Oil Tanker

Missile Attack on Iranian Oil Tanker
Stephen Lendman 
Date: 10-11-2019
Subject: Iran

Missile Attack on Iranian Oil Tanker

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

On Friday, a National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) vessel was reportedly struck by one or more missiles or rockets in the Red Sea near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The company reported heavy damage to the tanker's hull, causing an oil spill into Red Sea waters.

A statement said crew members are safe. The vessel is in stable condition. Only its "body…has been damaged, and the crew is trying to control it."

Iran's Persian-language media reported two missile strikes on the Panama-flagged Sabiti, causing separate explosions at 5:00 and 5:20 AM Friday morning local time.

An NITC statement said: "Contrary to some published reports, there is no fire aboard the ship and it is completely stable. Fortunately all the crew members are in a safe and sound condition."

Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed that the tanker was struck twice, causing heavy damage. There's been no comment from Riyadh or by its controlled media so far about the incident.

Is it related to the September 14 Yemeni Houthi attack on key Saudi oil facilities — falsely blamed on Iran by its regime and Pompeo?

Were US, the Saudis, or Netanyahu regime behind Friday's incident? Clearly they have opportunity and motive for launching hostile attacks on Iran.

The incident was an act of aggression against its tanker, anti-Iran elements no doubt behind it.

Tehran will investigate the attack to try determining the responsible party. A statement by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the following:

"In the past months, some other sabotage acts against Iranian tankers had been carried out in the Red Sea and investigations are underway into their perpetrators." 

"All the responsibilities of this measure, including environmental pollution in the region, falls on those behind this dangerous adventure," adding:

An investigation was launch into the latest incident, results to be announced when concluded.

Spokesman for the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet Lt. Pete Pagano said the Pentagon is "aware of reports of this incident" — with no further elaboration.

According to Tankertrackers, the vessel carried one million barrels of oil, adding: "This is the third time in the past six months that an Iranian tanker has been incapacitated in these waters."

The NITC said its vessel "is still in the Red Sea but its route will change…No help was offered to assist by any country."

Despite heavy damage, it's heading toward Iran's Larak island, according to Refinitiv shipping data.

Fars News reported that today's incident "came a few months after Iranian oil tanker Happiness-1 faced 'engine failure' and lost its control with 26 on board off the Red Sea port of Jeddah, and was later transferred to the port city for maintenance."

"According to Iranian officials, the incident had occurred on April 30 while Happiness I was on its way to the Suez Canal, and that water had leaked into the tanker's engine room."

"The Saudis refused to let the vessel leave and demanded that Iran pay $200,000 a day for maintaining the vessel in the port, some $10 million in total. It was finally released on July 20 and returned home."

Iran's IRNA news called Friday's incident a "terrorist attack," citing an unnamed source. Oil prices rose 2% following the incident.

Given all-out Trump regime war on Iran by other means, what Tehran calls "economic terrorism," further incidents like the Friday attack are likely.

Don't rule out Israel's involvement in what happened. On October 10, Netanyahu suggested he'd possibly order a preemptive strike on Iran — falsely claiming an Iranian threat that doesn't exist.

In late September, Israeli military intelligence-connected DEBKAfile (DF) said the "IDF (is) mull(ing) a preemptive strike to ward off planned Iranian attacks on the UAE and Israel" — that weren't planned by Tehran earlier or now.

DF falsely suggested otherwise, hinting at possible Israeli aggression on Iranian targets.

Its warplanes terror-bomb Syrian and Gazan sites repeatedly. Maybe similar actions are coming against Iran.

Perhaps the IDF was behind Friday missile or rocket strikes on Iran's Sabiti tanker. The incident is typical of how Israeli regimes operate.

The same goes for their US counterparts.

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