By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned Thursday suspected attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
The ships -- one Marshal Islands-flagged and the other Panama-flagged -- were on their way to Taiwan and Singapore from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively.
"I note with deep concern this morning’s security incident in the Strait of Hormuz," Guterres told the Security Council. "I strongly condemn any attack against civilian vessels."
"Facts must be established, and responsibilities clarified. If there is something the world cannot afford, it is a major confrontation in the Gulf region," he added.
Roughly one-third of the world's liquefied natural gas and a fifth of its oil consumption pass through the Strait of Hormuz each day, making it a vital transit way for global energy supplies.
The suspected attacks near the strait are the second in as many months.
Late last month, the United Arab Emirates said four vessels, including two oil tankers, were hit by sabotage attacks near its territorial waters, without blaming anyone for the attacks.
The U.S. said the attacks were conducted using limpet mines.
Saudi Arabia also said military drones carried out attacks on two oil pump stations on its East-West pipeline, which carries crude from the Abqaiq oil field to the Yanbu port on the country's Red Sea coast.
Riyadh blamed Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the attacks.