RIYADH   -  Saudi Arabia has urged a “rapid and decisive” response to recent attacks on oil tankers in the area. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih warned of a threat to energy supplies and market stability.On Thursday two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, a month after four others were targeted off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The US has blamed Iran, which denies any involvement. The attacks come amid increasing tensions between the two. Oil prices jumped as much as 4% after Thursday’s incident.On Saturday, the head of the world’s biggest international shipping association said some firms have ordered their ships not to enter the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman as a result of the attacks.

Jakob Larsen, head of maritime security at BIMCO, told the BBC military escorts for tankers could be organised if the situation worsened.The US has produced a video it suggests shows Iranian forces in a small boat taking an unexploded mine off the hull of one of the ships following Thursday’s attacks. But it has not provided evidence for Iran’s alleged involvement in the previous attacks within UAE territorial waters.

Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated significantly since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017. He abandoned a nuclear deal and significantly tightened sanctions on Iran. According to the US account of events, US naval forces in the region received distress calls from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair at 06:12 (02:12 GMT) and from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous at 07:00, following explosions, and moved towards the area.

It said the USS Bainbridge observed Iranian naval boats operating in the area in the hours after the explosions, and later removing the unexploded mine from the side of the Kokuka Courageous.

The crews of both vessels were evacuated to other ships nearby. Both Iran and the US later released pictures showing rescued crew members on board their vessels.BSM Ship Management, which manages the Kokuka Courageous, said the ship’s crew abandoned ship after observing a fire and an unexploded mine. However Yutaka Katada, the president of the ship’s operator, Kokuka Sangyo, said members of the crew had reported “that the ship was attacked by a flying object.