On October 12, two separate explosions were reported in the Iranian Sabiti tanker near the Saudi port of Jeddah. Following the incident, the National Iranian Tanker Company announced that the two oil tankers belonged to the NITC, saying the explosions were caused by rockets struck at 05:00 and 05:20 hours 60 miles from the Saudi port of Jeddah. It said the hull of the oil tanker had been damaged. Four days after the attack on the Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea near the Saudi port of Jeddah, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a speech that the attack on the Sabiti oil tanker was the work of “one or more governments”. Meantime, at a press conference, President Hassan Rouhani also made the point and warned those involved. Concerning the consequences of such incidents on international waterways, one must first consider the fact that at present, the largest volume of trade, i.e., almost 80% of global trade is done by sea, and therefore the seas and their security is important. The sea is also transported mainly through the straits, so both the sea and the straits are very important in international communication, especially the exchange of goods and services.
Another point is that because the events that have occurred are in the energy field, it should be noted that in the transactions taking place between states, energy is among strategic commodities and is like blood that flows through the economic arteries of nations. So energy security is very important for countries. Energy security includes energy production resources, energy transfer safety and competitive pricing. Any insecurity in energy transit can disrupt all three aspects of energy security.
The third point is that although they happen at a certain point, they have international implications. In other words, as the world economy is dependent on the sea and energy, any disruption in them will hurt the global economy. Therefore, when something happens in international waterways and seas, most countries in the world become sensitive and take a stand. This sensitivity is also due to their vulnerability against these events.
On the other hand, such incidents or any energy crisis would be to the detriment of some countries and to the benefit of others. Indeed, countries such as the United States and Russia, which are oil producers, will benefit greatly from such conflicts. Such incidents lead to an increase in oil prices. But countries that consume energy, such as Europe and Southeast Asia, will suffer. At the same time, those oil-producing countries that are part of the dispute will sustain losses. As events like this increase the cost of marine insurance, it makes it difficult to buy oil from these countries and their customers may shift to alternative markets.
In addition, there is a more significant loss that developments such as the attack on the Iranian tanker will make security in the sensitive Persian Gulf region difficult. Because nearly 60 percent of the world’s proven energy lies in the Persian Gulf, areas such as the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and the Suez Canal are the territories of the sea from which the region’s oil is exported. Therefore, any insecurity would not only disrupt the security and infrastructure of the countries involved, but also undermines the security of the region. At the same time as the world’s economy and politics are intertwined with this region, insecurity in the region will cause insecurity in international politics and economics. Therefore, in today’s world, especially in the field of economics and energy, the protection of international seas and waterways is necessary which should be secured only through the countries of the region.