Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 January 2020

Saudi transports sick Iranian crew member to Oman

Riyadh rescued the sick member of the Savis near Yemen at the request of Tehran

Members of local coast guard forces patrol at the port of Hodeidah. EPA
Members of local coast guard forces patrol at the port of Hodeidah. EPA

Saudi Arabia says it has transported a sick Iranian ship crew member evacuated from a vessel near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah to Oman for more treatment.

The Iranian national was sent to Oman at Tehran's request after receiving necessary medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, a source in the foreign ministry was quoted as saying by state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia said in June that it had evacuated a crew member from a “suspect” Iranian ship northwest of Hodeidah after Riyadh received a request for help from Tehran.

At the time, Coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki said the Iranian crew member was flown from the Savis to a military hospital in the Saudi city of Jizan, along the border with Yemen.

The crew member was "subjected to a serious injury and his condition deteriorated on board the ship", which was 95 nautical miles north-west of the Red Sea port.

The cause of injury was not specified.

Col Al Malki said the kingdom had received the request from the charge d'affaires of the Iranian delegation to the UN.

He said the assistance was provided "despite the threat represented by this suspect vessel, the hostile acts it [Iran] carries out against coalition forces and the interests of the Yemeni people, and its continued threats to maritime lanes and global trade on the Red Sea".

It is not the first time Saudi Arabia has assisted Iranian shipping in the region, despite political tensions between the rival states.

In a separate incident in early May, Saudi Arabia's coast guard towed an Iranian oil tanker with engine trouble off the coast of Jeddah in the Red Sea.

Meanwhile, an Iranian ship that underwent repairs in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port because of technical problems in May is now heading back to Iran.

There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities.

The Mehr news agency reported in early July the departure was delayed over a payment dispute to settle the bill for the repairs.

Updated: July 20, 2019 09:19 PM