Contradictory and confusing news on a very major accident in Fujairah, UAE, Gulf of Oman, started to circulate since afternoon May 12, claiming that there were several explosions in Fujairah port area, and that as a result, at least seven tankers were set on fire. UAE officials condemned these rumors as “fake news”, insisting that nothing happened, and that the port is working without any accidents of any kind, let alone series of explosions and fires.
Later though, UAE admits there were accidents, describing them as “acts of sabotage”. In the evening UAE media Emirates News Agency published official press-release:
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 spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.
Iranian PRESS TV claimed it identified tankers hit by explosions:
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:
Crude oil tanker AMJAD, IMO 9779800, dwt 300000, built 2017, flag Saudi Arabia.
Crude oil tanker AL MARZOQAH, IMO 9165762, dwt 105084, built 1999, flag Saudi Arabia.
Product tanker MIRAJ, IMO 9394741, dwt 7414, built 2007, flag Dominica.
Product tanker A MICHEL, IMO 9177674, dwt 6711, built 2007, flag UAE..
Product tanker FNSA 10, IMO 9432074, dwt 6453, built 2007, flag UAE.
Among allegedly struck tankers are one VLCC, one Aframax and three small tankers, most probably bunkering tankers.
What happened exactly, how bad were explosions and fire, if there were any, and what definition “act of sabotage” means, how much true is indeed, the whole story, is so far anyone’s guess.
At least three of abovementioned tankers, including VLCC and Aframax, are on the AIS, live, no interruptions. There are no auxiliary, or rescue, or fire, boats near them.
Apparently, if there were “acts of sabotage” on or near at least three tankers listed above, first of all VLCC and Aframax, it didn’t happen in port, but on outer anchorage, so news on port being on fire, immersed in dense smoke, can be considered as fake news.