#BREAKING: Blast sets Iran tanker ablaze near Saudi port -Iran media

Missile strikes suspected in Iran tanker blast off Saudi: company

Missile strikes suspected in Iran tanker blast off Saudi as said by the company. The blasts sparked an oil spill and fire on board the heavily-damaged ship belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), it was reported., Inc. @TankerTrackers
We believe this may be the Iranian Suezmax tanker SINOPA. She is laden with a million barrels of oil bound for Syria. That’s her regular run. This is the 3rd Iranian tanker in 6 months to be incapacitated in this part of the Red Sea. 1st it was HAPPINESS I & recently, HELM. #OOTT

An Iranian oil tanker stricken by explosions was likely hit by two rockets in a "terrorist act" as it sailed through the Red Sea, Tehran claims

The blasts sparked an oil spill and fire on board the heavily-damaged ship belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), it was reported.

The state-owned NIOC claims two separate explosions were likely caused by a rocket attack on Friday morning.

Photos published by Iranian media show a huge plume of smoke rising from the tanker.

Marine tracking websites show the 20-year-old Sinopa tanker holding a position about 60 miles south-west of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The vessel, formerly named Susangird, was reportedly en route to Syria - via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean - with a cargo of one million barrels of oil.

Initial reports out of Iran claim the blast was a possible "terrorist act", oil was spilling into the sea after four main tanks were damaged and the ship had been stabilised by its crew.

The reports did not cite any evidence to support the claim that it was a terror attack or assign any blame.

"Experts believe it was a terrorist attack," Iran's Students News Agency reported.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported: "Technical experts believe the incident may be due to terrorist activity."

All of the crew members were safe and uninjured, said reports out of Iran.

The Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, said the crew was safe and gave the name of stricken vessel as "Sanitized".

The Sinopa was carrying a million barrels of oil bound for Syria, Tanker Trackers reported.

It was the third Iranian tanker to become incapacitated in the Red Sea in just six months.

In May, the Happiness 1 tanker, carrying at least 1.1 million barrels of fuel oil, was forced to seek repairs at a Saudi port after suffering “engine failure and loss of control”.

In August, a vessel called HELM broke down 75 miles from Saudi Arabia and under went repairs.

There have been a number of incidents involving Iran and oil tankers in recent months.

Late last month, Tehran released a British-flagged tanker two months after it was boarded and seized by the Revolutionary Guard.

The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz - a major oil shipping route - in July for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar for a suspected breach of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar released the Adrian Darya 1 - formerly named Grace 1 - in August after Tehran gave assurances that its 2.1 million barrels of oil would not be offloaded in Syria.

Britain claimed the cargo was later sold to Syria, but Iran claimed it was sold to a private company and denied that it had broken assurances.

Iran's seizure of the Stena Impero had ratcheted up tensions in the region following attacks in May and June on other merchant vessels in Gulf waters which Washington blamed on Tehran.

Iran has denied responsibility.

Relations between the United States and Iran have become more strained since Washington withdrew last year from a global pact to rein in Tehran's nuclear programme and imposed sanctions on the country aimed at shutting down Iranian oil exports.

Earlier this month, 11 supertankers were waiting to load oil cargoes from Saudi Arabian ports after an attack on the country’s oil facilities halved the kingdom’s production.

The attack on Saudi Arabia that shut 5 per cent of global crude output triggered the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls Yemen’s capital claimed responsibility for the attack, which damaged the world’s biggest crude oil processing plant.

Iran denied blame and said it was ready for “full-fledged war”, while US President Donald Trump said Washington was “locked and loaded” to retaliate.

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