TWO OIL TANKER SHIPS ATTACKED IN GULF OF OMAN

TWO OIL TANKER SHIPS ATTACKED IN GULF OF OMAN
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Reports are coming in that two large oil tanker ships have been attacked in the Gulf of Oman.  Information coming in says both ships suffered several large explosions, have spilled ALL their oil cargo, and now, reports say both ships have . . . SUNK!  This could mean war starts today if Iran is blamed . . . .

This is a fast developing story, check back for updates below . . .

Local sources in Oman as saying that two successive explosions were heard in the Sea of Oman — also called the Gulf of Oman — on Thursday morning.

The sources said the blasts were caused by attacks on the tankers, according to the report.

The tankers sent distress calls to the sea’s littoral states.

The area is near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which nearly one-third of all oil traded by sea passes.

Four shipping and trade sources said two tankers — identified as the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous  — had been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, and that the crew had been evacuate from the vessels.

The crew were safe, the sources added.

Rescue workers have rushed to the assistance of two oil tankers, transferring all of their 44 crew members.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker was, according to reports, heading from Qatar to Taiwan when a fire broke out on the tanker approximately 25 miles from Iran’s Jask port city.

The Panama-flagged ship was also en route from a port in Saudi Arabia towards Singapore when a fire broke out approximately 28 miles from Jask.

The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet says that its naval forces are assisting tankers in the Gulf of Oman after receiving two distress calls.

“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 a.m. local time and a second one at 7:00 a.m.,” Joshua Frey of the Fifth Fleet said.

The Kokuka Courageous tanker was damaged in the incident, a spokesman for the vessel’s manager BSM Ship Management (Singapore) said.

“The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking. The cargo of methanol is intact,” the spokesman said.

The vessel is about 14 nautical miles off Iran and about 70 nautical miles from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where a number of commercial vessels were targeted by sabotage operations last month.

The Norwegian shipping firm Frontline also confirmed that its oil tanker Front Altair was on fire after an incident in the Gulf of Oman, Norwegian newspaper VG reported, quoting a company spokesman.

All 23 crew members were brought to safety at a nearby vessel, the spokesman added.

Earlier, the Associated Press reported that the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations — which is run by the British navy — warned that an unspecified incident has taken place in the sea and was urging “extreme caution.”

In another report, shipping newspaper Tradewinds claimed, citing unnamed industry sources, that an oil tanker owned by Norway’s Frontline had been struck by a torpedo off the coast of Fujairah.

The map below shows the approximate location of the two vessels:

 

 

Benchmark Brent crude oil has risen over 4% in trading, to over $62 a barrel after these incidents in Gulf of Oman.

UPDATE 7:30 AM EDT --

A South Korean company confirms that all the 23 crew aboard one of the two oil tankers reportedly attacked near the Strait of Hormuz have been rescued by one of its cargo vessels sailing in the area.

The Seoul-based Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. on Thursday cited crew of its Hyundai Dubai cargo vessel as saying that there were three rounds of explosion sounds at the MT Front Altair before it sent an emergency distress call.

The company says it's the operator of the Hyundai Dubai vessel.

A company statement says the 30,000-ton-class Hyundai Dubai vessel sent a lifeboat to rescue MT Front Altair's 23 crew members before embarking them on the cargo vessel.

It says the Hyundai Dubai vessel later handed over the rescued crew members to an Iranian rescue boat.

It says the MT Front Altair, built in 2016, had reportedly been on its way to Japan with naphtha, a petrochemical product.

 

 

It comes a month after another apparent attack on vessels in the Gulf. On 12 May, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian — were targeted off the coast of Fujairah in what the UAE Foreign Ministry described as acts of sabotage.

The three countries whose ships were damaged said in a joint statement that Limpet mines had been placed in a “sophisticated and coordinated operation” by divers. The UAE suggested that it was likely the work of a “state actor” but stop short of identifying the culprit.

US officials, however, were quick to point the finger at Iran. "It's clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?" said US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

In turn, US Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that Iran had attacked the tankers to raise the global price of oil.

Tehran has denied any involvement and called for an investigation.

 

UPDATE 7:43 AM EDT -- 

confirmed hole in the main body of one of the ships, ABOVE the waterline.

This might indicate a Missile strike

 Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, is in Iran right now on a state visit.

"On Wednesday, after talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Abe warned that any "accidental conflict" that could be sparked amid the heightened U.S.-Iran tensions must be avoided."

What are the odds that a Japanese oil tanker would be hit immediately after?

 

UPDATE 8:08 AM EDT --

23 crew members of the Front Altair threw themselves off the ship following the attack. Iranian outlets report that they were rescued by an Iranian vessel.

Same Iranian news agency that initially reported the incident in the Gulf of Oman now reports one of the two tankers has sunk (would still consider this as unconfirmed)

 

UPDATE 8:16 AM EDT --

Precise last known locations of both ships:

PHOTO

UPDATE 8:23 AM EDT --

U.S. Military at the Pentagon are in urgent meetings. There will be major meetings at the White House later, once all the intel off the ground is received.

What will happen is really down to the President later. Right now, its about info gathering rather than response. That will likely change as the day progresses.

 

UPDATE 8:25 AM EDT --

Distress signals were 47 minutes apart, so the assumption is that both attacks were not simultaneous.

Israeli press are reporting one of the vessels has now fully sunk, but that is not confirmed.

US Naval assets are further assembling in the area.

 

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UPDATE 8:48 AM EDT --

Photos from a rescue ship circling the Front Altair:

 

 

UPDATE 9:18 AM EDT --

Oil tanker owners DHT Holdings and Heidmar have suspended new bookings to the Middle East/Gulf region following the attacks against two tankers in the Sea of Oman.

If other shipping companies do the same, the ability to transport 35% of GLOBAL OIL SUPPLY will be stopped.  That would send prices upwards of $300 per barrel of oil . . . if anyone could actually get it.  This has "financial disaster" written all over it.

 

Eerily quiet right now, while waiting for new information...waiting for the other shoe to drop. You can cut the tension with a knife.

 VIDEO

 

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UPDATE 4:15 PM EDT

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