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Oil tankers attacked again in the Gulf of Oman

PortandTerminal.com, June 13, 2019

UPDATE (12:24 local time in Tehran): Iran’s state-run media agency IRNA says one of the two stricken oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has sunk.

Two oil tankers came under attack on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, forcing their crews to abandon ship and setting at least one vessel ablaze, a month after four tankers were damaged in the same waterway, a vital thoroughfare for much of the world’s oil products.

The US Fifth Fleet received calls at 06:12 and 07:00 local time that there were two ships in distress. Rescue ships were dispatched. In total, 44 seamen and their captains in total were forced to abandon their ships.

One ship that was attacked is an oil tanker, the other a chemical tanker. One captain described shots being fired at the vessel and it being hit by some sort of “projectile” causing the vessel to burst into flames.

The Iranian Navy says that it has picked up all 44 crew members and taken them to an Iranian island. No serious injuries have been reported.

Iranian media is running footage that shows both ships burning.

Regardless of who is behind the latest attacks, they are a serious escalation in a region already on high alert after last month’s attack on four ships off of Fujairah. The United States has blamed the attacks on Iran which has denied the claims.

US crude oil futures surged as much as 4% on Thursday after a tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, a key waterway used to transport energy supplies from the Middle East.

UPDATE (12:24 local time): Iran’s state-run media agency IRNA says one of the two stricken oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has sunk.

The two tankers, the Marshal Islands-flagged and the Panama-flagged, were on their ways to Taiwan and Singapore from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively, IRNA reported.

The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous reported to CNN that the 27,000-ton tanker had been attacked “by some sort of shell” off Fujairah, a port in the United Arab Emirates. The ship suffered damage to its starboard hull.

The ship’s operator, Singapore-based BSM Ship Management, said in a statement that the Kokuka Courageous was about 14 nautical miles from the coast of Iran. A second tanker, the Front Altair, suffered a fire following an explosion while sailing in the Gulf of Oman, vessel manager Frontline said. The company was unable to provide more details.

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