The United Arab Emirates said May 12 that four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations in the Gulf of Oman off the port of Fujairah. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said May 13 that two of the targeted ships were Saudi oil tankers, one of them about to pick up a load for delivery to the United States. While there were no casualties, two of the ships did suffer structural damage.
The incident comes after the United States announced it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf due to alleged threats from Iran. While the deployment was reportedly routine, the announcement by national security adviser John Bolton, as well as official US reports warning of an attack by Iran, have raised tensions to an unprecedented level under the Donald Trump administration. No UAE or Saudi official has pointed the finger at Iran. However, Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a UAE professor and adviser to Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed, tweeted that Iranian culpability is likely given that Iranian-backed media were the first to report the incident.