14 oct 2019
Iranian state news outlet Shana has released its first images of the damage to the tanker Sabiti, which suffered two explosions and two hull breaches on Friday.
The managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad Rastad, told state media on Monday that the attack was indeed a missile strike, as has been widely reported. He claimed that the tanker has 140,000 tonnes of oil on board (out of a maximum dwt of 160,000 tonnes) and that her “consignment had no damage,” though recent satellite imagery shows a large oil slick in the Red Sea. Official post-attack photos show that she is heavily trimmed by the stern, a condition consistent with a lightened load forward.
Aerial surveillance footage, photo imagery and AIS data suggest that rather than holding position and awaiting assistance, the Sabiti got under way shortly after the attack, heading south-southeast at 10 knots with oil in her wake.
Sabiti is due to arrive in the port of Bandar Abbas within nine days, according to Rastad.
Newly-released photos of the blast damage (below) show the tanker’s outer hull peeled neatly inwards, with little indication of scorch marks or coating damage surrounding the hole. One image clearly shows a second, smaller hole through the inner hull.
Iran has not reached a firm conclusion on the source of the attack, and its investigation continues. “An appropriate response will be given to the designers of this cowardly attack, but we will wait until all aspects are clarified,” said Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabeiei, speaking to PressTV on Monday.