Iran oil tanker breaks down in Red Sea off Saudi coast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian oil tanker carrying over 1 million barrels of fuel oil suffered a malfunction in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia, authorities said Thursday, raising concerns that the vessel could be leaking.

The incident involving the Happiness I came as U.S. oil exemptions for Iranian crude oil purchases expired, part of President Donald Trump's maximalist approach against Tehran.

Saudi Arabia's state-run television channels and news agency said authorities received a distress call from the Happiness I over an "engine failure and the loss of control."

The vessel had a crew of 26, including 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, Saudi state media said. They described the ship's position as some 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Jiddah in the Red Sea.

Saudi authorities said various government agencies were involved in the operation, including those who handle environmental protection. It did not elaborate on whether oil had spilled from the tanker.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted the state-run National Iranian Tanker Co. as saying the tanker would be transferred to Jiddah's port. It said the vessel, on the way to the Suez Canal, broke down over water leaking into its engine room.

No one was injured in the incident and Iran denied any fuel had leaked out. The website MarineTraffic.com, which tracks vessels at sea, put the Happiness I about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the coast of Jiddah late Thursday morning.

The website TankerTrackers.com, whose analysts monitor oil sales on the seas, estimated the Happiness I carried at least 1.1 million barrels of fuel oil. It said the ship sailed in tandem with another smaller sister ship named the Sabiti.

The Happiness I stopped its engines Tuesday, then was shadowed by the Sabiti close enough to have its crew escape, TankerTrackers said. Two tugboats from Saudi Arabia appeared to have reached the ships, TankerTrackers said.

TankerTrackers said it did not believe there was an oil leak, though information about the incident was still murky.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are chief Mideast rivals. Iran now faces increased pressure from the U.S. over its oil sales after Trump pulled America out of its nuclear deal with world powers. Iran has warned it will respond aggressively to any attempt to cut its oil exports to zero, as the Trump administration has pledged to do.

This is the latest incident involving an Iranian tanker.

In January 2018, the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi struck the Chinese freighter CF Crystal 257 kilometers (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea. The Sanchi, carrying nearly 1 million barrels of a gassy, ultra-light oil bound for South Korea, burst into flames, killing 32 sailors on board.

___

Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

People also read these

Taliban suicide car bombing in Kabul kills 24...

Jul 24, 2017

Taliban suicide car bombing targets minibus with Afghan government employees, killing 24

Officials: Afghan children smuggled to Pakistan...

Jul 31, 2017

Afghan officials: Children illegally being taken to religious seminaries in Pakistan to be taught...

Afghan official says blast at Shiite mosque kills...

Aug 1, 2017

An Afghan hospital official says the death toll in the suicide attack inside a minority Shiite...

Kabul catwalk: Afghan models show off traditional...

Aug 17, 2017

Amid tight security, Afghan models promote traditional clothing of country's ethnic groups in rare...

US historian who spent decades in Afghanistan...

Sep 10, 2017

An American historian who spent decades in Afghanistan working to preserve the heritage of the...

About Us

Get all the up-to-date breaking news about politics, business, entertainment, sports, lifestyles, weather, traffic, and local news in a seamless digital environment only in Morning Dispatcher.

Contact us: sales[at]morningdispatcher.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links

HomePress