Dubai - Saudi Arabia said it received a distress message on Friday from a damaged Iranian tanker in the Red Sea but the vessel kept moving and switched off its transponder before it could provide assistance, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.
SPA said the Sabiti tanker did not respond to many communications from the Saudi authorities. Saudi Arabia was committed to the security and safety of navigation and international laws, it said.
Meanwhile, an Iranian government spokesman on Saturday described as a “cowardly attack” an incident that Iranian media have called the apparent targeting by missiles of an Iranian-owned oil tanker, and said Iran would respond after the facts had been studied.
The tanker Sabiti was hit in Red Sea waters off Saudi Arabia on Friday, Iranian media have reported, an incident that could stoke friction in a region rattled by attacks on tankers and oil installations since May.
“Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts,” government spokesman Ali Rabei was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.