Oil tankers attacked near Strait of Hormuz; oil prices soar

Oil tankers attacked near Strait of Hormuz; oil prices soar

BSM Ship Management, which operates Kokuka Courageous said in a statement that all 21 crew members on its ship, which had been loaded with methanol, were rescued with only minor injuries by the vessel Coastal Ace after an "incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship's hull starboard side".

Iranian emergency services have rescued forty-four sailors from two tankers that were attacked, the attack caused a fire on the vessels. But its arch-rival Saudi Arabia still maintains it was the most likely culprit.

Oil prices surged by 4per cent 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 U.S. over Tehran's nuclear programme.

"US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6.12am local time and a second one at 7.00am", the statement said.

Iran has denied any involvement. It did not offer a cause for the incident or mention the second ship.

"Following two attacks on Member vessels this morning, I am extremely anxious about the safety of our crews going through the Strait of Hormuz", Pao lo d'Amico, chairman of INTERTANKO, said in a statement.


Oil prices had slumped in the previous session on an unexpected rise in USA crude stockpiles and a dimming outlook for global oil demand.

"Even if the background for these attacks is not totally clear, the Norwegian Maritime Authority recommends, after today's episode, to stay well clear of Iranian waters until further notice", it said.

Benchmark Brent crude spiked 4% in trading following the reported attack, to over $62 a barrel, according to early market figures.

The UK's Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy issued an alert over an unspecified incident in the area and said it was investigating.

Iranian state television's website, citing the pro-Iran Lebanese satellite news channel Al-Mayadeen, said two oil tankers had been targeted in the Gulf of Oman.

Japan's Trade Ministry said the two vessels had "Japan-related cargo" as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was wrapping up a high-stakes visit in Tehran that sought to ease tensions between Iran and the US.


The Japan Shipowners' Association said one of the two ships attacked is a Panamanian-registered chemical tanker belonging to its Japanese member and was on its way to Singapore and Thailand, not to Japan.

"Three explosions on board the vessel were reported".

The timing of Thursday's reported attack was especially sensitive as Abe's high-stakes diplomacy mission was under way in Iran.

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

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the attack.

His remarks were apparently meant to downplay and lower expectations amid uncertain prospects for Mr Abe's mission. The region was already on edge following attacks in May on Gulf oil assets that occurred amid a dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran's nuclear programme.


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