An Iranian oil tanker has reportedly caught fire after an explosion near Jeddah
An explosion has set an Iranian oil tanker on fire near the Saudi port city of Jeddah, according to the semi-official Iranian news agency Isna.
The blast set the vessel, which belongs to National Iranian Oil Company, on fire 60 miles (95km) from the Saudi port city of Jeddah, it reported.
The explosion has caused heavy damages and oil is spilling in the Red Sea, unnamed sources told the agency, adding that experts believe it to be a terrorist attack.
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 14 September that caused fires and damage and shut down 5.7m barrels per day of production – more than 5% of global oil supply.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a US official said they originated from south-western Iran. Riyadh blamed Tehran. Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s war, has denied any involvement.