Mideast In Uproar After US-Linked Oil Tanker Reportedly Struck By A Torpedo While Passing Through The Gulf Of Oman Earlier Today
The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.
Iran loves to play games of cat-and-mouse, boldly provoking one moment and fervently denying any involvement the next. That seems to be what’s happening in the Middle East today, as tensions between the United States and the terror-supporting nation of Tehran edge ever closer to conflict.
Pictures show a huge fireball raging on a US-linked oil tanker after it was reportedly struck by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman today.
FROM THE UK SUN: All 44 sailors on the two ships were rescued after sending out distress signals picked up by the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, it has been reported. They are believed to have taken to Iran.
Norwegian shipping firm Frontline, which owns the Altair, has denied Iranian reports that the tanker had sunk. The ship was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands – a US associated state in the Pacific Ocean.
Chartered by Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC Corp, the huge vessel set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung on June 30.
It comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iran are threatening to reach boiling point. In recent weeks, Washington has sent a number of battleships to the region in response to what it says are Iranian threats against American interests and its allies in the region.
The Kokuka Courageous had set sail from Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia on June 10 and was due to reach Singapore by June 22. Oil prices soared by 3.5 per cent following news of the explosions, according to reports.
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif branded the explosions as “suspicious” calling them “reported attacks on Japan-related oil tankers.” He said the incident had happened as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close American ally.
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said it is aware of a “reported attack” in the area and is investigating.
A statement said: “US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6.12 am local time and a second one at 7.00 am. US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy, urged “extreme caution” and said it was investigating the incident.
“We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.” Authorities do not believe that any British nationals were on the two ships.
A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”
This comes after the US claimed Iran used explosives to blow huge holes in four ships – including two Saudi oil tankers – anchored in the Persian Gulf last month.
The ships reportedly had ruptures measuring up to ten foot across in their hulls as a result of the May 12 sabotage attacks. READ MORE
Report: US shipping tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman near Iran
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