The information on the incident was initially revealed by the UAE Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
As recently as this April, Iranian officials threatened to close the strait as retaliation for the renewal of USA sanctions, an act that a congressional research paper warned previous year would likely lead to outright military conflict between the Iran and the U.S. The presence of a United States warship in the Bab al Mandab, the arrival of B-52H Stratofortress bombers at Qatar's Al Udeid Air Base, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group's deployment to the Persian Gulf, new economic sanctions on Iran, the USA embassy in Iraq issuing a warning, and Washington's terrorist designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have collectively contributed to this extremely tense situation.
The trade turmoil has prompted hedge funds to cut their bullish wagers on US crude oil to the lowest level in a month and raised their bets on Brent crude to the highest in almost seven months, USA government data showed on Friday. One of the two Saudi tankers was on its way to the port of Ras Tanura to load oil for shipment to the USA, according to SPA.
On Monday, those tensions rose rapidly, as Saudi Arabia said several of its oil tankers that had passed through the strait had been sabotaged. Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All Share Index retreated 1.8%, and shares of Bahri, the kingdom's biggest owner of oil tankers, dipped as much as 4.1% to their lowest value since 2013.
National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) did not respond to a request for comment.
From the coast, AP journalists saw an Emirati coast guard vessel patrolling near the area of one of the Saudi ships in Fujairah, some 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Dubai on the Gulf of Oman.
"The global community should carry out its responsibilities to prevent any parties trying to harm maritime security and safety, which would be considered a threat to worldwide safety and security", it added. The UAE Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports on Sunday as "baseless and unfounded".
Rising geopolitical tension has also weighed on stock markets in the Gulf this week. The top USA diplomat again suddenly switched his plans for Monday, skipping Moscow for a trip to Brussels, where he will "meet with European allies to discuss recent threatening actions and statements by Iran". After the United States ended all sanctions waivers on Iranian crude, Washington said Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would help compensate for any shortage in oil supply. It said the incident did not result in oil spills. "The worldwide community has a joint responsibility to protect the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers, to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets and the danger they pose to the global economy", he said.
Mr Mousavi was cited by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying "such incidents have negative impact on maritime transportation security", and asking for regional countries to be "vigilant against destabilising plots of foreign agents".
So far, only Riyadh confirmed that its vessels were among those sabotaged in the UAE territorial waters.