US Blames Iran For Recent Attack On Two Oil Tankers Off The Gulf Of Oman
An unknown group of people just attacked two oil tankers off the Gulf of Oman, severely damaging the vessels and causing crew members to jump ship. Iran and United States personnel reportedly responded to the attack to help in the evacuation of the crew members.
The identity of the attackers has yet to be confirmed, but the US has already placed the blame on Iran and its allies. This has further increased the already high tensions between both countries following their dispute over Iran's denuclearization and the US ongoing trade sanctions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had publicly blamed Iran for the attacks on one of the world's busiest oil routes. The Gulf of Oman is located at the end of the Strait of Hormuz, a busy shipping lane that sees hundreds of millions worth of oil pass each day.
Pompeo stated that he had based his assessment on the intelligence that was gathered on the weapons that were used during the attack.
The United States currently has a powerful naval presence in the region, following the deployment of several military assets under the order of President Donald Trump. An investigation into the explosions is reportedly still underway, but solid evidence to pinpoint the identity of the attackers has not yet been produced.
Iran immediately responded to the accusations and claimed that they were completely unfounded. Iran officials stated during an interview this week that the country had no connections with the recent explosions onboard the tankers.
The attacks happened just a month after a similar incident had occurred involving four oil tankers that were passing close to the United Arab Emirates. During that time, the United States also openly blamed Iran and its allies.
The recent attack was on the Japanese-owned vessel called the Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian vessel Front Altair. Both vessels had 23 crew members on board on each ship.
The Norwegian Maritime Authority had confirmed that there was apparently three explosions that were heard onboard the Front Altair. The ship was carrying around 75,000 tons of naphtha.
According to the company that chartered the vessel, they believe that the explosion could have been from torpedoes. However, the claims have not yet been confirmed.
Meanwhile, there are currently no details yet on the explosions that had occurred onboard the Kokuka Courageous. However, its operator, BSM Ship Management, did confirm that the ship was not in danger of sinking and that its crew members were safe after having been rescued by a passing vessel. The Kokuka Courageous was carrying an unspecified amount of methanol.