Quantcast
Connect with us

Two oil tankers evacuated after reported attack in Gulf of Oman

Published

on

The crews of two oil tankers were evacuated off the coast of Iran on Thursday after they were reportedly attacked and caught fire in the Gulf of Oman, sending world oil prices soaring.

The mystery incident, the second involving shipping in the strategic sea lane in only a few weeks, came amid spiralling tensions between Tehran and Washington, which has pointed the finger at Iran over tanker attacks in May.

Iran said its navy had rescued 44 crew members after the two vessels caught fire in “accidents” off its coast.

But the US Fifth Fleet said its warships had received distress calls from both vessels in a “reported attack”.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority said three explosions were reported on board the Norwegian-owned tanker Front Altair after it was “attacked” along with the Singapore-owned cargo carrier Kokuka Courageous.

Iranian state media said the first incident occurred on board the Front Altair at 8:50 am (0420 GMT) 25 nautical miles off Bandar-e-Jask in southern Iran.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker was carrying a cargo of ethanol from Qatar to Taiwan, official news agency IRNA reported.

AFP / Paz PIZARRO Gulf

“As the ship caught fire, 23 of the crew jumped into the water and were saved by a passing ship and handed over to the Iranian rescue unit,” it said.

“An hour after the first accident the second ship caught fire at 9:50 am 28 nautical miles off the port.”

The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous was headed to Singapore from Saudi Arabia with a cargo of methanol, and 21 of its crew jumped and were rescued, according to IRNA.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Security incident’ –

Singapore-based BSM Ship Management, which owns the Kokuka Courageous, said it had “launched a full-scale emergency response following a security incident”.

“The 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side,” it said.

“One crew man from the Kokuka Courageous was slightly injured in the incident and is receiving first aid.”

ADVERTISEMENT

It said the vessel is about 70 nautical miles from the United Arab Emirates and just 14 from the coast of Iran.

Tehran said it has dispatched a helicopter from the port of Bandar-e-Jask to the ships’ location for “further investigation”.

The US Fifth Fleet said: “We are aware of the reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

“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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

– Oil price spike –

Oil prices spiked after a merchant shipping information service run by Britain’s Royal Navy reported an “incident” in the Gulf of Oman.

“UK and its partners are currently investigating,” United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on its website, without giving further details.

Global oil prices gained around four percent immediately after the reports of the attack. Benchmark Brent oil was trading at $61.74 a barrel, up about three percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Gulf of Oman lies at the other end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz from the Gulf, part of a vital shipping lane through which at least 15 million barrels of crude oil and hundreds of millions of dollars of non-oil imports pass.

On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged in still unexplained attacks in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Iranian naval mines were almost certainly behind those attacks but declined to provide specific evidence that Tehran was involved.

The UAE said last week that initial findings of a five-nation investigation delivered to the United Nations pointed to the likelihood that a state was behind the bombings, but added there was no evidence yet that Iran was involved.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thursday’s incident came after Iran-aligned Huthi rebels on Wednesday said they had fired a missile at a Saudi airport. Saudi officials said 26 people were wounded in the attack on Ahba airport.

Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations that it was behind the sabotage.

But its arch-rival Saudi Arabia still maintains it was the most likely culprit.

Saudi King Salman earlier this month warned a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that “terrorist” attacks in the Gulf region could imperil global oil supplies, as he sought to galvanise support among Islamic countries against arch-rival Iran.

ADVERTISEMENT

The world’s top oil exporter has ratcheted up tensions with Iran after the sabotage attacks, which were followed by an attack on a key Saudi oil pipeline, which was claimed by Yemen’s Huthi rebels.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was Thursday holding unprecedented talks in Tehran with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seeking to defuse the US-Iran tensions which have triggered global concern

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

Published

on

Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

Published

on

Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Amazon, Google and Facebook warrant antitrust scrutiny for many reasons – not just because they’re large

Published

on

There’s a growing chorus of U.S. politicians, antitrust scholars and consumer watchdogs calling for stricter antitrust treatment of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Some even say they should be broken up.

Most recently, U.S. lawmakers launched a sweeping review to determine if these companies have become so big and powerful that they are stifling competition and harming consumers, while federal regulators are also gearing up to take action.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

Learn how you can help.
close-link