Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews have been evacuated, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.
The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls following “reported attacks”. The United KingdomMaritime Trade Operations, part of the Royal Navy, said it was investigating.
Details of the incident were not immediately clear, but one operator said it suspected its ship had been hit by a torpedo. Another shipping firm said its vessel was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported that Iran’s navy had rescued 44 crew members from the tankers, and had transferred them to the port of Jask.
Oil prices surged by 4 percent after the report that has stoked tensions in the region that have already been heightened by attacks last month on Gulf oil assets amid a dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The Gulf of Oman lies at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which a fifth of global oil consumption passes from Middle East producers.
‘A risk to oil supplies and regional security’
There was no immediate confirmation from authorities in Oman or the United Arab Emirates, in whose territorial waters four tankers were hit last month. An investigation said limpet mines were used. US and Saudi officials blamed Iran for the May attack, a charge Tehran has denied.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said the attacks on oil assets in the Gulf posed a risk to global oil supplies and regional security.
On Thursday Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line while on passage from Saudi Arabia to Singapore.
“The ship is safely afloat,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan’s CPC said tanker Front Altair, carrying 75,000 tonnes of naptha, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” around 0400 GMT. Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data showed the Front Altair, an Aframax vessel owned by Norway’s Frontline, had loaded naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, and was in waters between Oman and Iran, carrying its cargo from Ruwais in the UAE to aiwan.
Frontline said its vessel was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.
The sources said crews from both vessels, which they had said had been struck in international waters, had been safely evacuated.
One shipping broker said there had been an explosion “suspected from an outside attack” that may have involved a magnetic mine on the Kokuka.
“All crew safely abandoned the vessel and were picked up by Vessel Coastal Ace. Kokuka Courageous is adrift without any crew on board,” the source said.
Another source said the Front Altair reported a fire caused by a “surface attack” and that the crew had been picked up by nearby vessel Hyundai Dubai.
UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report
Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.
The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.
A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.
But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.
‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys
In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.
"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.
The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.
"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."
Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors
A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.
The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.
"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.
The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.