Gulf of Oman attack – US says Iran is behind ‘torpedo’ attack on American-linked oil tanker and bombing of second ship

by Nwo Report
 A huge fire rages on board the Front Altair after it was reportedly hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman

Source: Nworeport

What we know so far:

  • Two oil tankers were seriously damaged in the suspected torpedo attack
  • It’s “highly likely Iran caused the attacks,” one US official has claimed
  • Almost 50 sailors had to be rescued from the stricken tankers in the Gulf
  • Oil prices surged by 3.5 per cent after today’s suspected terror attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister has branded the explosions as “suspicious”
  • The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is now investigating the suspected torpedo attack

And now, in comments bound to ignite tensions between the two countries, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the “blatant” attacks.

He said they were part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran and a threat to international peace and security.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo told reporters.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security,” he said.

Pompeo said the United States will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.

One US source dismissed the Islamic Republic’s earlier claim that they had rescued all the crew members from both ships branding the report “patently false.”

He said the USS Bainbridge had rescued 21 of the 44 stricken sailors involved in the incident near the Strait of Hormuz.

Earlier, Tehran’s news agency IRNA claimed Iranian search and rescue teams had taken all the crew members to the port of Jask.

The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.

Norwegian shipping firm Frontline, which owns the Altair, has denied Iranian reports that the tanker had sunk.

The ship was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands – a US associated state in the Pacific Ocean.

Chartered by Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC Corp, the huge vessel set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung on June 30.

Speaking to Reuters, the CEO of CPC’s petrochemical division Wu I-Fang said the tanker was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo.”

He said it was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30 million.

‘TORPEDO ATTACK’

Paolo d’Amico, chairman of the tanker association, Intertanko, said concern was rising for other crews braving the powder keg shipping lanes.

He said: “If the waters are becoming unsafe, the oil supply to the entire Western world could be at risk.”

It comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iran are threatening to reach boiling point.

A Saudi-led coalition has described today’s attack as a “major escalation”.

In recent weeks, Washington has sent a number of battle ships to the region in response to what it says are Iranian threats against American interests and its allies in the region.

The Kokuka Courageous – which is owned by Japanese firm Kokuka Sangyohad – set sail from Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia on June 10 and was due to reach Singapore by June 22.

Oil prices rose by 3.5 per cent following news of the explosions, according to reports.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif branded the explosions as “suspicious” calling them “reported attacks on Japan-related oil tankers.”

He said the incident had happened as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close American ally.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said it is aware of a “reported attack” in the area and is investigating.

A statement said: “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.

“US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

 The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning
The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning

Speaking about the attacks, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said: “The President has been briefed on the attack on ships in the Gulf of Oman.

“The US Government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy, urged “extreme caution” and said it was investigating the incident.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

Authorities do not believe that any British nationals were on the two ships.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

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.

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