Attack on Saudi oil tankers raises Mid-East tensions

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Saudi oil tankers.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Saudi oil tankers.PHOTO: AFP

Tensions rose in the Middle East after two Saudi oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the world's most important oil transport route.

A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the choke-point strait from Middle East crude producers to major markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

The strait is 33km wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is just 3km wide in either direction.

No one has claimed responsibility for the 6am attacks on Sunday, which came amid an escalating war of words between Iran and the United States over sanctions and the US military's presence in the region.

The US has deployed an aircraft carrier, bomber planes and defence missiles to the region amid rising tensions with Iran, which has threatened to block oil shipments through the strait if the US succeeds in halting its energy exports.

SEE TOP OF THE NEWS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Attack on Saudi oil tankers raises Mid-East tensions'. Print Edition | Subscribe