(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s coast guard received a distress call from an Iranian oil tanker that came under attack this week, but the vessel had switched off its tracking system when a response was made to its request for assistance, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The distress call was sent by email and stated that the front of the tanker, the Sabiti, had suffered damage and there was a subsequent oil leak, the agency cited a coast-guard spokesman as saying.

Communications were analyzed in order to provide help, but the vessel continued moving further away from Jeddah Islamic Port, he said. The tanker switched off its automatic tracking system without responding to the Saudi calls to assist, he said.

The tanker is moving toward Iran at maximum speed and will reach the Bab-el-Mandab strait in less than 24 hours, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news service reported earlier, citing Nasrollah Sardashti, head of the National Iranian Tanker Co. Sabiti will enter Persian waters in 10 days, Sardashti said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at fmacdonald4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net, Paul Richardson, James Amott

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