An Iranian tanker struck by missiles in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia has stopped leaking oil, while Iran has vowed to retaliate, according to a report by Reuters.
An Iranian government spokesman on Saturday described the incident as a “cowardly attack” and said Iran would respond after the facts had been studied.
The tanker Sabiti was hit in Red Sea off Saudi Arabia on Friday. Iranian officials have said that at least two missiles struck the tanker.
“Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts,” government spokesman Ali Rabei was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
Separately, a senior security official said video evidence had provided leads about the incident, adding that the Sabiti was hit by two missiles, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
Saudi Arabia said it received a distress message from the damaged tanker but the vessel kept moving and switched off its transponder before it could provide assistance, the state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.
Leakage of cargo from the tanker has been stopped as it heads for the Arabian Gulf, according to the semi-official news agency Mehr. “The tanker is heading for [Arabian] Gulf waters and we hope it will enter Iranian waters safely,” it quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Nasrollah Sardashti, head of National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) that owns the damaged tanker, said the crew were safe and the vessel would reach Iranian waters within 10 days, the Oil Ministry’s news agency SHANA reported.
There was no claim of responsibility for the reported incident and it has yet to be independently confirmed.
The Red Sea is a major global shipping route for oil and other trade, linking the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.