[Global Times] The real culprit behind the 14-month Saudi oil field bombing has not yet been found. In the early morning of November 11, an Iranian oil tanker was attacked by two missiles in the Red Sea, less than 96 kilometers from the Saudi port of Jeddah. According to Irans National News Agency on November 11, two main tanks on board were hit, causing oil to leak into the Red Sea. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said it was a dangerous act and warned the attackers that they would bear all the consequences. According to the New York Times analysis, Saudi Arabias confrontational relations with Iran have been carried out in many areas, and the incident will add fuel to the ever-turbulent situation in the Middle East.
Reported that the damage caused by the attack was limited, no crew was injured, the tanker is in a stable state, and the oil spill has been controlled. But the location of the incident, the Red Sea, is unusual, because usually Iranian-related confrontations take place near the Persian Gulf. The Iranian National Oil Tanker Company, which belongs to the tanker, said that the tanker, named Sabati, was carrying 1 million barrels of crude oil from the Iranian port of Abbas to Syria. It was attacked twice at 5 am and 5:20 am on the 11th.
Following the news, international crude oil prices rose, and Brent crude oil prices rose by 2% in the futures market. Irans National Tanker Company said that technical experts were investigating the incident and believed it was likely to be a terrorist attack. The website Ocean Traffic, which tracks the ships trajectory, shows that the tanker has not transmitted any geographic location data since mid-August. Iranian tankers usually shut down their trackers because of US sanctions on Iranian crude oil sales.
Irans Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mousavi, said Iran was investigating the details of the attack and the perpetrators behind it and would publish the results once confirmed. All the consequences, including the environmental pollution caused by the massive oil spill, are borne by the perpetrators of this dangerous and risky accident. Mousavi also said that several months ago, other Iranian oil tankers encountered some provocative acts in the Red Sea, and Iran is investigating the culprits of these acts. At present, Saudi Arabia did not respond to the attack.
A spokesman for the U.S. Navys Fifth Fleet said the U.S. military was aware of the reports, but did not comment. The Associated Press reported that the incident would negatively affect tense U.S. -Iraqi relations and that a full-scale war could be imminent. On June 20, Iran announced the shooting down of a U.S. drone. President Trump called off air strikes on Iran at the last minute, but then imposed the highest-level sanctions on Iran, cutting off Irans ties with the world market, including Irans Supreme Leader Khamenei, the Iranian Central Bank and the Iranian National Development Fund.
Iranian officials have yet to comment on the identity of the attackers. According to CNN, Sahib, head of public relations at Irans National Tanker Company, said the missile was likely launched from Saudi territory. For some time, oil facilities in the Gulf region have been attacked frequently.
On 14 January, two Saudi oil facilities were attacked by UAVs, resulting in a 50% drop in Saudi oil production capacity. Yemens Hussein armed forces claimed responsibility for the incident, but the United States and Saudi Arabia decided that Iran was behind the attack.
Press? TV, Irans national English television station, reported that it was the third Iranian tanker to face problems in the Red Sea. A few months before the attack, Irans Happiness 1 tanker suffered engine failure, lost control and was transferred to the Saudi port of Jeddah for maintenance. Saudi Arabia refused to let the ship go and asked Iran to pay a total maintenance fee of about $10 million per day for the ship. Under pressure from Iran, Saudi Arabia returned the ship to Iran on 20 July. The second Iranian tanker, Helm, was also stranded in Saudi Arabia due to technical problems.
Iranian analysts believe that the incident occurred on the eve of the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Iran, and the timing is very doubtful. According to Iranian media reports, Imran Khan will visit Iran on Saturday 12th, with the main purpose of mediating between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The attack may have been deliberately designed to prevent Iran and Saudi Arabia from easing relations. The series of events put international crude oil prices under pressure. A senior shipping industry official said that the daily rent of large tankers had risen from $35,000 to $170,000 in the past two months.
Source: Global Network Responsible Editor: Li Zaixing_NBJS9026