Norway to assist UAE investigation into Fujairah oil tanker incident

One of the tankers damaged in Sunday's sabotage attack was registered in Norway

epaselect epa07567791 A general view for the MV Andrea Victory under Norway flag which was attacked on 12 May 2019 outside Fujairah port, United Arab Emirates, 13 May 2019. Media reports on 13 May 2019 state that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Office reported that four commercial vessels have been targeted by sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters. Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih added that two Saudi oil tankers had been targeted in the attack.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
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Norway will assist with the UAE's investigation into the acts of sabotage on four tankers off the coast of Fujairah on Sunday night, the country's foreign ministry confirmed to The National.

MT Andrea Victory, one of the four ships involved in the incident on Sunday night, is registered in Norway to a ship management company.

"Emirati authorities are responsible for the investigation. Norway is assisting them in a regular manner for situations where Norwegian vessels are involved," Per Bardalen Wiggen, a spokesperson for the Norweigan Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The National.

Norway will join the United States and Saudi Arabia in the investigation into the incident.

Reports by Reuters and AFP said that France was also assisting in the investigation. The French foreign ministry and the embassy in Abu Dhabi are yet to respond to a request for comment.

The other three ships damaged in the attacks were registered to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Norwegian-registered product tanker was damaged, but no one was hurt and the ship is not in danger of sinking, Thome Ship Management said on Sunday.

"The master of MT Andrea Victory reported the crew were unharmed but there was a hole in the hull area of the aft peak tank. The ship is not in any danger of sinking," the company said in a statement.

A damaged Andrea Victory off the Port of Fujairah. It is a Norwegian-registered product tanker. Reuters
A damaged Andrea Victory off the Port of Fujairah. It is a Norwegian-registered product tanker. Reuters

The incident prompted widespread condemnation from countries across the Middle East. On Wednesday, Oman joined the countries condemning the act.

"The sultanate stresses the importance of concerted regional and international efforts for the safety of maritime navigation and the avoidance of any causes that would compromise the safety and stability of the region," a statement from the country's foreign ministry read.

The United States was the first country to join the investigation into the incident.

A US defence official told Reuters on Monday that the US military is assisting in the investigation on "the attack on the commercial vessels near Fujairah emirate, just outside the Strait of Hormuz”.

The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, urged a thorough investigation, but said any response should stop short of war.

"It's not in our interest, it's not in Saudi Arabia’s interest, to have a conflict," Mr Abizaid told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, also urged an investigation into the exact causes of the incident in a statement issued shortly after the event, advising against "plots by ill-wishers".

In another incident this week, Houthi rebel drones attacked Saudi oil installations on Tuesday morning leading to the temporary halting of pumping in the East-West pipeline, the country said.

This attack also garnered widespread condemnation from governments in the Middle East and around the world.