UAE says 4 ships targeted by 'sabotage' off its coast

UAE FM confirms four commercial vessels targeted at Fujairah port

Four commercial ships subjected to sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters, no fatalities or injuries reported

"Subjecting commercial vessels to sabotage operations and threatening the lives of their crew is considered a unsafe development", according to the statement that was carried by state news agency WAM. The ministry' spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying there should be more information about the incident. The port stands some 70 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz, and is increasingly important amid Iranian threats to close the strait as a reaction to U.S. military moves in the region.

US restored its sanctions on Iran previous year and intensified them recently which further exacerbated Iran's economic crisis and pushed Iran warning that it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

According to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the "sabotage" took place in waters near the emirate of Fujairah, in the Gulf of Oman just outside the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint for about a third of the world's oil tanker traffic, with Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the other.

The US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said it was aware of the report when contacted by Reuters, but referred queries to the UAE authorities.

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But subsequent investigations have since found the report about explosions at the port to be untrue. It is seen as strategically located, serving shipping routes in the Persian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent and Africa.

A senior Iranian lawmaker and head of parliament's national security committee, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, said yesterday that reports of "explosions" near Fujairah port showed the security of Gulf states was fragile.

Mr Mousavi was cited by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying "such incidents have negative impact on maritime transportation security", and asking for regional countries to be "vigilant against destabilising plots of foreign agents". It called on the global community to assume its responsibilities to prevent such actions by parties attempting to undermine maritime traffic safety and security.

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