UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – FRN has now confirmed that powerful explosions occurred in the Emirati port of al-Fujairah, where four oil tankers were admittedly sabotaged.
The blasts took place early on Sunday morning, according to the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television channel, which reported the development hours later. FRN reported then on the story, as unconfirmed, when at the time the number of ships involved was claimed at seven. The government has recently released a revision of their previous denial, and has the number at four.
After initial denial, UAE confirms ships ‘sabotaged’ off its coast.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has confirmed, after initial denial, that a number of commercial ships have been targeted by “sabotage” attack near its territorial waters.
The Foreign Ministry of the United Arab Emirates issued a statement, saying that four commercial vessels have been targeted by “sabotage operations” near its territorial waters.
ABU DHABI, 12th May, 2019 (WAM) — Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations today, 12th May, near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, has announced. The Ministry said that the concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures, and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies. It said that there had been no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels and that there had been no…
The statement added that there were no victims, but fell short of giving any details on possible damage to commercial vessels and their flags. FRN cannot confirm if how accurate this statement is, whether it represents a full admission or a partial one. Given that the government of the UAE and the port authority both issued statements denying any incident at all, it casts doubts on these revised claims in which four ships are ‘admittedly’ sabotaged.
The ministry statement was tweeted by the official news agency WAM.
— وكالة أنباء الإمارات (@wamnews) May 12, 2019
The Fujairah Government for its part had initially denied reports of the alleged explosions in the UAE that claimed a series of explosions had rocked the emirate’s port on Sunday.
What was reported at the time?
Operations at Fujairah Port are continuing as usual, the emirate’s government media office had previously said
The government’s media office initially issued a statement on Sunday saying there had been no such explosions and that work was continuing as normal at Fujairah port.
It also called on media organisations to be accurate in their reporting and to only publish information once it was confirmed by official sources.
المكتب الإعلامي لحكومة الفجيرة ينفي صحة التقارير الإعلامية التي تتحدث عن انفجارات قوية هزت ميناء الفجيرة الإماراتي فجر اليوم، ويؤكد أن حركة العمل في الميناء تجري وفق المعتاد، ويدعو وسائل الإعلام إلى تحري الدقة والاعتماد على المصادر الرسمية. pic.twitter.com/hVNtuylXq0
— FUJAIRAH mediaoffice (@FjMediaoffice) May 12, 2019
Fujairah’s harbour master, who claims he was on site at the time, also reiterated that there was no truth to the reports.
Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV and the Russian news agency Sputnik were among the outlets to promote the story, which turned out in the end in fact to be accurate.
With regard to today’s alleged incident – Iran’s PressTV reported:
It said the seven oil tankers were completely burnt and that firefighters were still trying to extinguish the blaze.
Some social media activists said that American and French aircraft of unspecified type were flying over the port.
Al Mayadeen did not say what had caused the explosions or the fire.
Later, the media office of the government of Fujairah denied the report of the explosions altogether, saying that transit and other activities at the port were underway as usual. Additionally, Brigadier Ali Obaid al-Taniji, the director of the department of civil defense in Fujairah, told the Emarat al-Youm daily that there had been no fire or explosion at the port.
Despite the UAE government’s denial, witnesses have emphasized that the blasts have taken place and some media sources have even went further, identifying a number of oil tankers hit by the explosions by their hull numbers as follows:
Marij oil tanker
Alamijal oil tanker
Khamsa 10 oil tanker
Earlier this week, a number of powerful explosions rocked Saudi Arabia’s port city of Yanbu’, an important petroleum shipping terminal for the kingdom. Reports, however, fell short of giving any reason for the blasts or possible casualties.
No further details have been made available up to this moment and no group or individual has assumed responsibility for the blasts.
Yanbu’ is an important petroleum shipping terminal for Saudi Arabia and home to three oil refineries, a plastics facility and several other petrochemical plants.