Saudi Arabia rejects engagement in SABITI incident

TEHRAN, Oct. 13 (MNA) – Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday that Riyadh was not behind a suspected strike against an Iranian-owned oil tanker in the Red Sea.

"We did not engage in such behaviour at all. This is not how we operate and that's not how we did (it) in the past," Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh.

"The story is still not complete. So let’s wait and find out what happened before we jump to conclusions," Yahoo news quoted him as saying.

On Saturday, the spokesperson of General Directorate of Border Guard of Saudi Arabia made the first reaction to the incident occurred for the Iranian oil tanker, SABITI, in the Red Sea, claiming that the Saudi body was intended to provide help to the tanker but was not successful since SABITI had turned its GPS off and did not responded to Saudi’ contacts.

“At 11:47 local time on Friday, an e-mail was received from Jedda seaside station including a message from SABITI’s captain,” the Saudi official said, “The message said the bow of the tanker was damaged causing oil released into the sea.”

“While having the received data analyzed, it was found out that the tanker was on its route, 67 miles away from Jedda coastline,” he claimed.

“With its GPS off, the tanker did not respond to the calls no more,” he added.

“The tanker’s location was updated at 15:50, illustrating it 79 miles away from Jedda,” he added.

Chief Executive of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) Nasrollah Sardashti said on Friday that no country helped Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea after the accident happened for the tanker.

“We will change the direction of the oil tanker to exit from the Red Sea,” he added.

An Iranian oil tanker has not yet resumed its direction, he said, adding, “as soon as the oil tanker starts going on, it will change its course to exit from the Red Sea.”

The cause of the accident for the oil tanker is still unclear but the oil spill to the sea has been controlled, Sardashti added.

According to the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), two explosions hit the Iranian oil tanker SABITI operated by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) near the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Friday. The two explosions, ‘likely by missiles’, have hit the vessel at 5:00 and 5:20 AM on Friday some 60 miles off Jeddah, said NITC in a Friday statement.

It said that the explosion has hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the vessel’s main reservoirs, which had resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea.

Technical experts on the oil tanker and experts in NITC headquarters are currently investigating the cause of the explosions.

Sardashti announced on Saturday that SABITI is en route home and would arrive in Iran within 9 or 10 days.

MNA/PR

News Code 151160

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