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Oceans drenched in oil: Iran oil tanker breaks down in the Red Sea

An Iranian oil tanker has broken down in the Red Sea near Saudi Arabia but its crew is safe and carrying out repairs, the oil ministry's website reported on Wednesday.

tanker

AFP |

The HELM suffered a “technical fault” about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the Saudi port of Yanbu on Tuesday, the ministry’s website said, citing the National Iranian Tanker Company.

“The crew of the tanker are busy fixing the defect and the vessel is in a stable situation from a safety standpoint,” the NITC’s technical director Akbar Jabalameli was quoted as saying.

The crew of the tanker was safe and in “full readiness to solve the problem,” he added.

TankerTrackers.com, which monitors ship movements, said the HELM was carrying 1.3 million barrels of crude oil and heading towards the Suez Canal from the Iranian island of Kharg.

A court in the British territory ordered its release last week and the ship began sailing eastward on Sunday night, its final destination unknown.

The vessel appears on the US Treasury’s website in a list of entities subject to American sanctions.

It is the second such Iranian breakdown in recent months after the tanker, called ‘Happiness 1’, was forced to seek repairs in the Saudi port of Jeddah that reportedly cost the Islamic republic $10 million.

It comes days after another Iranian oil tanker the Adrian Darya set sail after being released by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar despite a US bid to detain it.

Forces of US ally, Britain, had helped seize the tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 on the suspicion that it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions. However, a court in the British territory ordered its release last week and the ship began sailing eastward on Sunday night, its final destination unknown.

Read more: Oil giants collude to strangle Iran

Iran and its arch-foe, the United States, have been at loggerheads since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark nuclear deal last year and began re-imposing sanctions against the Islamic republic.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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