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Wednesday April 1st, 2020 9:06PM

The Latest: Saudi tankers hit by 'sabotage' off UAE coast

By The Associated Press
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on alleged sabotage of ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

The head of the Arab League has condemned attacks that targeted vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates the previous day, including two Saudi oil tankers, as "criminal acts."

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said in a statement on Monday that these acts are a "serious violation of the freedom and integrity of trade and maritime transport routes."

He says the Arab League stands by the UAE and Saudi Arabia "in all measures taken to safeguard their security and interests."

___

11:40 a.m.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry is condemning "acts of sabotage" that targeted two of its oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

A ministry statement published on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Monday, said "this criminal act poses a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime traffic, which reflects negatively on regional and international peace and security."

It added that Saudi Arabia stands alongside the UAE "in all measures taken to safeguard its security and interests." The kingdom says the unspecified act of sabotage did not lead to any casualties or oil spill.

Earlier, SPA also quoted the Saudi minister of energy, Khalid Al-Falih, as saying the attack on Sunday aims to undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the "security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world."

He also emphasized the "joint responsibility of the international community to protect" the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers.

___

9:10 a.m.

Iran's Foreign Ministry is calling for clarification about what happened with two Saudi oil tankers that the kingdom said were targeted in a "sabotage attack" off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday expressed concerns over the incident that affected the oil tankers and said there should be more information about what exactly happened.

He says the security of shipping and maritime transport in the region is of paramount importance.

The state-run IRNA news agency also quoted Mousavi on Monday as cautioning against any "conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers" and "adventurism by foreigners" to undermine the region's stability and security.

___

7:30 a.m.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister says two Saudi oil tankers were targeted in a "sabotage attack" off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and sustained "significant damage."

Khalid Al-Falih made the comments in a statement carried early Monday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

He said the two tankers were targeted off the coast of Fujairah.

He said one tanker was en route to the kingdom to be loaded with Saudi crude oil to send to the United States.

He did not identify the tankers.

He said: "Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels."

The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects.

___

7 a.m.

The U.S. has issued a new alert to maritime traffic over alleged "acts of sabotage" of ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates amid heightened regional tensions between American and Iran.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, which stressing the incidents had not been confirmed, warned shippers early Monday to exercise caution when traveling past Fujairah, a port city on the eastern edge of the United Arab Emirates on the Gulf of Oman.

It gave coordinates of the alleged sabotage, putting it just north of Fujairah.

The UAE on Sunday said the sabotage targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects. It came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the nearby Emirati port in Fujairah, which bunkers and ships oil.

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