UAE welcomes participation of other countries in ‘sabotage operations’ probe

A damaged Andrea Victory ship is seen off the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates said it welcomes the participation of a number of “brotherly and friendly states” in the investigation of the “sabotage operations” that targeted four tankers near its territorial waters, the state-news agency WAM reported on Wednesday citing a foreign ministry statement.

On May 12, four commercial vessels were sabotaged near the UAE's Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Two of the four commercial vessels were from Saudi Arabia, while the other two were from the UAE and Norway.

“The participation of our international partners in the investigation will help us arrive at impartial conclusions in a transparent manner,” said the statement.

“The ongoing joint investigations reflect the international community's determination to protect maritime security, the flow of international trade, and energy supplies,” it added.

It also emphasized that with the participation of UAE's international partners, the investigation will continue “in the proper manner and will conclude in due course.”

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE gave details on the nature of the tanker attacks or accused anyone of responsibility.

It was followed, two days later, by an explosive-laden drones attack on a major Saudi oil pipeline that was claimed by Yemen's Houthis.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday it was “quite possible” that Iran was responsible for the sabotage of Gulf oil interests but added that its own robust response had prevented potential attacks on Americans.

Thome Ship Management said its Norwegian-registered oil products tanker MT Andrew Victory was “struck by an unknown object.” Footage seen by Reuters showed a hole in the hull at the waterline with the metal torn open inwards.

While the attacks did not result in any casualties, or spillage of oil or harmful chemicals, they could have caused serious loss of life and an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Oman.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:55 - GMT 06:55
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