A vessel, operated by the National Iranian Oil Company, reportedly caught fire 100 km (about 60 miles) from the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
An explosion aboard an Iranian tanker has set the NIOC-owned vessel on fire near the Saudi port city of Jeddah, according to the ISNA.
Heavy damages have been inflicted on the vessel, and oil is spilling into the Red Sea, according to local media reports.
According to sources quoted by the Iranian news agency ISNA, an investigation is underway and it could be a “terrorist” act.
Two missiles targeted the Iranian oil tanker Sinopa and caused an explosion, Iran’s national oil company stated on its website.
Company said that the blasts were “probably caused by missile strikes”.
“There is no fire aboard the ship and the ship is completely stable,” NIOC added.
The crew of the damaged Iranian oil tanker are safe, the situation aboard the vessel in the aftermath of the explosion is under control, according to media reports.
“None of the crew members were injured at the explosion… the situation is under control”, Iran’s Nour News cited an unnamed source as saying.
The blast reportedly happened on the hull of the vessel, and caused damage to the two main reservoirs of the tanker.
The incident comes amid growing tensions between Iran and the US and its allies in the Persian Gulf following a series of suspected sabotage attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in mid-May. Two more tankers, including one belonging to Japan, were struck in mid-June, in the midst of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran to try to soothe US-Iran tensions.
The US, which announced that it would be deploying a carrier strike group to the Middle East about two weeks before the May attacks, blamed Iran for the sabotage. Tehran vehemently denied the allegations and shot back, calling the attacks “suspicious” and accusing the US and its allies of deliberately exacerbating tensions.