Four cargo ships were hit by “sabotage operations” on May 12 near UAE Gulf of Oman waters off the Fujaira emirate. The UAE Foreign Ministry in Abu Dhabi reported that no injuries or spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel had occurred, indicating that the ships were fuel tankers. Work continued as usual at Fujairah port, the statement said.
The UAE had denied an earlier report by local media of “heavy explosions” at the port of Fujairah early Sunday. According to first reports, US and French warplanes were flyng overhead at the time and from 7 to 10 oil tankers were in flames. The UAE is currently expanding the port to hold the world’s largest crude oil storage facility, capable of storing up to 14 million barrels of oil.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the UAE ministry’s statement conceals more than it reveals. It is obvious that someone in the Gulf region launched an attack on oil and gas shipping in the region. It can hardly be doubted that the aggressor in this case was Iran or one of its allies or proxies in Tehran’s first major reprisal for US sanctions on its oil exports. Iranian officials have declared that if Tehran can’t export its oil, neither will anyone else. Washington has so far made no response to this attack which has undoubtedly sparked intense deliberations.