Two Oil Tankers Attacked in Gulf of Oman – Urgent Warnings Issued After ‘Torpedoes Used’
TWO explosions erupted on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman today after at least one was struck by a torpedo, it has been reported.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy, urged “extreme caution” and said it was investigating the incident near Iran.
The latest explosions in the region come after four ships were attacked with explosives last month in the Persian Gulf
According to global shipping news outlet TradeWinds, the two tankers were caught in a crossfire and the crew were forced to evacuate.
Iranian media earlier reported that two explosion had erupted on the ships without offering any evidence.
The US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said it is aware of a “reported attack” in the area and is investigating.
Sources told Reuters that the tankers were on fire after the incident.
One of the vessels has been identified as Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged ship which had set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on June 30, Bloomberg reports.
The tanker, which had been loaded with oil in Abu Dhabi is on fire, an Emirati official said.
According to Reuters, the second ship is the Kokuka Courageous which is a Panama-flagged vessel.
It 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 percent following news of the explosions, according to reports.
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.
They were targeted near the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates – with one of the tankers due to be loaded with Saudi crude oil bound for the US.
A Washington-based official told the Associated Press that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or its allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.
Iran strongly denies involvement in the attacks.
A huge US naval presence has built up in the Gulf over recent weeks amid a fevered standoff between Washington and Tehran.
US intelligence revealed Iran was on the verge of carrying out offensive action to disrupt and attack American and partner interests in the region.
It led to the deployment of US aircraft carriers, Patriot missiles and B52 bombers over recent days.
The general-secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council described the sabotage as a “serious escalation” in an overnight statement.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman called the incidents near the coast of Fujairah on May 12 “worrisome and dreadful” and asked for an investigation into the matter.