Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih has called for global energy supply chains to be protected following the recent attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the ministry reported on its Twitter page.
"There must be a swift and decisive response to the threat against energy supplies... created by the recent terrorist acts in the Arabian Gulf", he said at the G20 meeting of energy and environment ministers in Japan.
The minister further added that the kingdom will work towards ensuring the stability of global energy markets.
His words came on the same day as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of being behind the attack on two oil tankers on 13 June that led to their hulls being damaged. The prince added that although his country doesn't seek war, it won't hesitate to deal with threats to its "people, sovereignty and vital interests".
His words echoed accusations issued by US President Donald Trump, who insists that a video released earlier by the US military proves that Iranian forces placed limpet mines on the exterior of the ships. In light of these accusations, the US has sent a destroyer to the Gulf, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowing that Washington will "guarantee freedom of navigation" through the Strait of Hormuz.
However, testimonies of the crew members from one of the ships, the Kokuka Courageous, cast a shadow over the US version of events. They indicated that an object was seen flying towards the tanker shortly before the explosion. The head of the tanker's operator, Yutaka Katada, insisted that it was unlikely that a mine had damaged the ship's hull.
"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", he said.
Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Furthermore, the Iranian UN mission has accused the US and its allies of organising false flag attacks in the region in order to shift the blame onto the Islamic Republic.
Iranian vessels evacuated 44 crew members from the ships and have taken them to the port of Jask until the tankers are determined to be safe, while firefighter boats helped contain the fires on both vessels.