An Iranian oil tanker has exploded and is burning off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
The National Iran Oil Company said a supertanker called Sinopa was hit by two missiles around 60 miles from the port of Jeddah, leaving it badly damaged.
The explosion badly damaged two tanks on board the vessel, which is believed to be carrying a million barrels of oil bound for Syria, leaving it leaking into the Red Sea.
‘Experts believe it was a terrorist attack,’ a source told Iranian news agency ISNA.
The Nour news agency, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the crew was safe and gave the name of stricken vessel as “Sanitized”.
Tensions have been high between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia since an attack on the Kingdom’s two oil facilities on September 14 that caused fires and damage and shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production – more than 5 per cent of global oil supply.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a U.S. official said they originated from southwestern Iran. Riyadh blamed Tehran.
Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s war, has denied any involvement
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees the region, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reported explosion comes after the U.S. has alleged that Iran attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, something denied by Tehran.