Home Foreign Policy 2 Oil Tankers Attacked Off Iran Coast

2 Oil Tankers Attacked Off Iran Coast

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Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz were damaged in suspected attacks on Thursday, an assault that left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The Navy and the ship’s owners offered no immediate explanation on what weapon caused the damage to the MT Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran, though all believed the ships had been targeted in an attack.

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It marks the latest mysterious incident to target the region’s oil tankers. The U.S. alleged that Iran used limpet mines to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah last month. Iran has denied being involved, but it comes as Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen also have launched missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that while Tehran doesn’t seek nuclear weapons, “America could not do anything” to stop Iran if it did.

The comments came during a one-on-one meeting capping Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s high-stakes visit in Tehran that sought to ease Iran-U.S. tensions, suggested the efforts had failed.

Benchmark Brent crude spiked at one point by as much 4% in trading following the suspected attack, to over $62 a barrel, highlighting how crucial the area remains to global energy supplies. A third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait, which is the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman, said the U.S. Navy was assisting the two vessels that he described as being hit in a “reported attack.” He did not say how the ships were attacked or who was suspected of being behind the assault.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, preliminarily identified one of the vessels involved as the MT Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker. The vessel was “on fire and adrift,” Dryad added. It did not offer a cause for the incident or mention the second ship.

The firm that operates the Front Altair told The Associated Press that an explosion was the cause of the fire onboard. International Tanker Management declined to comment further saying they are still investigating what caused the explosion. Its crew of 23 is safe after being evacuated by the nearby Hyundai Dubai vessel, it said.

The second vessel was identified as the Kokuka Courageous. BSM Ship Management said it sustained hull damage and 21 sailors had been evacuated, with one suffering minor injuries. Iranian state television said 44 sailors from the two tankers have been transferred to an Iranian port in the southern province of Hormozgan.

The timing of Thursday’s suspected attack was especially sensitive as Abe’s high-stakes diplomacy mission was underway in Iran. Japan’s Trade Ministry said the two vessels had “Japan-related cargo.”

On Wednesday, after talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Abe warned that any “accidental conflict” that could be sparked amid the heightened U.S.-Iran tensions must be avoided.

His message came just hours after Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi airport, striking its arrivals hall before dawn and wounding 26 people Wednesday.

A statement published by Khamenei’s website after Abe’s meeting Thursday with the supreme leader suggested a tense exchange between the two.

“We have no doubt about your good will and seriousness, but … I don’t regard (President Donald) Trump as deserving any exchange of messages,” Khamenei reportedly told Abe.

Khamenei also said Iran remained opposed to building atomic weapons, but offered a challenge to Trump.

“You should know that if we planned to produce nuclear weapons, America could not do anything,” said Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state in Iran’s Shiite theocracy.

In Tokyo, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a top government spokesman, told reporters that Abe’s trip was intended to help de-escalate Mideast tensions — not specifically mediate between Tehran and Washington. His remarks were apparently meant to downplay and lower expectations amid uncertain prospects for Abe’s mission.

Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that the Trump administration pulled out of last year.

Iran’s nuclear deal, reached in 2015 by China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the U.S., saw Tehran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions. Western powers feared Iran’s atomic program could allow it to build nuclear weapons, although Iran long has insisted its program was for peaceful purposes.

In withdrawing from the deal last year, Trump pointed to the accord not limiting Iran’s ballistic missile program and not addressing what American officials describe as Tehran’s malign influence across the wider Middle East. Those who struck the deal at the time described it as a building block toward further negotiations with Iran, whose Islamic government has had a tense relationship with America since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and subsequent hostage crisis.

Already, Iran says it quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium. Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions have cut off opportunities for Iran to trade its excess uranium and heavy water

via newsmax

3 COMMENTS

  1. Attacks on Tankers in Strait of Hormuz

    Something does not add up. What does Iran have to gain by attacking ships in the straight? Nothing as far as I can tell.

    However, there are other players that such action would benefit. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, China, North Korea, other Arab nations… especially with pipelines to the Med. Terror groups that want to keep the middle east in a state of chaos and war. Countries that sell arms to the region….. One big oil producer and arms producer…. Is Russia.

    Oil prices jumped 4 percent after explosions rocked a pair of tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. A study conducted during a previous period of tensions with Iran in 2012 estimated that a major conflict in the region that cut off shipments of oil from the Persian Gulf to global markets could push crude prices up 50 percent in a matter of days.

    One should ask the question who benefits most by these attacks?… It is NOT Iran.

    Why do the accounts of the sailors on the ships, accounts of the attack differ from those of the US Government?

    Also, if America has video of an Iranian vessel… did it not track that vessel after it removed the mine?

    Iranian and US vessels assisted in the rescue… was the attempt to help twisted to fit a predetermined story line?

    If there was a torpedo attack was it surface launched or via submarine…. In any case was the vessel not tracked…it is one of the most highly surveilled areas of the world.

    We know how many subs there are … we think and where they are…don’t we?

    Where and how were the lipid mines attached to a vessel underway?

    STRANGE.

  2. It didn’t have anything to do with oil. It has everything to do with a new style torpedo. If you want to conduct tests on a torpedo reputed to being able to knock out an aircraft carrier, well find something of similar mass. Heck while you’re at it, try and cause as much confusion as possible. Blame the Russians, Saudis, North Koreans…. Interesting to my perspective, one of those oil tankers has a broken back. Naval history and engineering makes that a horrifyingly interesting fact. Of course I don’t want in any arguments. If I knew how those torpedoes were fired I wouldn’t remember. Matter of fact I would just say all of this is conjecture. Not everything is as it appears.

  3. Reality. The US is not an autonomous nation state. American X-tianity has fallen to the blandishments and the cunning manipulation of Judaic Zionism. Albeit most Jews have themselves abandoned controlling and caustic Judaism, there is a sense wherein it has transmogrified it self into Zionism. And born again x-tianity has willingly taken on the role of it’s handmaiden. Our President, a man of no known principles appears none the less to virtually worship the power and the wealth of Judaic Zionism. Which makes him an eager and willing tool of the Zionists. The destruction of Iran as a modern functioning country has long been on the Zionist agenda. What we are witnessing now is that Zionist agenda being played out. But there is a problem. Iran can close the straits of Hormuz and that would likely crash the whole world economy. Which is why Trumps tune has changed from, come on out and fight, to, hey, lets talk.

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