The vessels sabotaged on Sunday in the Gulf of Oman were navigating under the flags of Saudi Arabia, Norway and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Al Arabiya news channel reported on Monday. One of the two Saudi tankers was on its way to the port of Ras Tanura to load oil for shipment to the USA, according to SPA.
A total of four commercial vessels were damaged in the attacks; a Norwegian company said it owned one, and Saudi Arabia owns two.
The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the Emirates will probe the "deliberate sabotage" of the ships.
Oil has bucked worries about global growth because tensions in the Middle East are rising. The port lies near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most important oil export waterways. He urged the worldwide community to ensure the security of oil tankers "to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets, and the danger they pose to the global economy".
Each ship had a 5-to-10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, a US official told The Associated Press.
"This criminal act constitutes a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime navigation and adversely impacts regional and global peace and security", the source added.
Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi expressed "regret" toward Sunday's incident and called it "concerning".
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The Saudi vessels were identified as the VLCC tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah, both owned by Bahri.
WTI crude oil is at a session high, up $1.51 to $63.18.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the incident aims "to undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world", according to SPA.
But the accusations immediately sparked fears of an escalation between the US, whose Fifth Fleet in Bahrain protects commercial ships in the strait, and Iran, which borders it. Relations between the two countries are already strained due to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw waivers that had blunted the impact of renewed sanctions on Iran.
The U.S. has warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and America has moved additional ships and aircraft into the region.
Washington said it was sending a US aircraft carrier and other forces to the Middle East due to what it said were Iranian threats, while Tehran has called the USA military presence "a target" rather than a threat. Since then, the United States has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran, saying it wanted to reduce its oil exports to zero. The US also refused to allow Iran to export heavy water surpluses to Oman or swap low-enriched uranium that exceeded 300 kg for yellowcake uranium.