“SABITI will reach the Strait of Bab al-Mandab in less than 24 hours and will arrive in the Iranian waters in the next 9 to 10 days,” Sardashti said on Saturday.
He added that two main tanks of the ship have been damaged, but the crew are safe.
“The oil tanker is moving towards Iran at maximum speed,” Sardashti said.
He noted that the oil tanker was carrying crude. “Leakage of oil from the two damaged reservoirs of the tanker has been completely controlled.”
The oil tanker, SABITI, belonging to the NITC sustained damage to the body when it was hit by two explosions 60 miles from the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
The NITC said on Friday that SABITI Oil Tanker was sailing towards the Persian Gulf.
“The SABITI is now moving back to the Persian Gulf,” NITC confirmed.
A statement by NITC said the SABITI tanker was hit by two separate explosions at 5:00 and 5:20 am Friday, probably after being struck by missiles.
The incident took place some 60 miles from Jeddah early Friday.
The explosions have reportedly hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the vessel’s two main tanks, which has resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea. The spill has currently stopped, according to officials.
It said the crew members are currently safe and none of them has been harmed in the explosions. The tanker is currently in a stable condition, the statement added.
The NITC later dismissed the reports that the vessel has caught fire, according to the Iranian oil ministry.
The explosions came a few months after Iranian oil tanker Happiness-1 faced “engine failure” and lost its control with 26 on board off the Red Sea port of Jeddah, and was later transferred to the port city for maintenance.
According to Iranian officials, the incident had occurred on April 30 while Happiness I was on its way to the Suez Canal, and that water had leaked into the tanker’s engine room.
The Saudis refused to let the vessel leave and demanded that Iran pay $200,000 a day for maintaining the vessel in the port, some $10 million in total. It was finally released on July 20 and returned home.
Also in June, two large tankers were hit by explosions in the Sea of Oman. The Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
At that time, Iranian rescue workers rushed to the assistance of two tankers hit by the unspecified accidents in the Sea of Oman, transferring all of their 44 crew members to its southern shores.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker was, according to reports, heading from Qatar to Taiwan when a fire broke out on the tanker approximately 25 miles from Iran’s Jask port city.
The Panama-flagged ship was also en route from a port in Saudi Arabia towards Singapore when a fire broke out approximately 28 miles from Jask.