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War or Terror in the Gulf of Oman? Oil Tankers in flames, crew rescued and taken to Iran

A maritime safety group warned earlier today of an unspecific threat in the Gulf Oman urging extreme caution amid US- Iran tension. The near the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic waterway through which nearly one-third of all oil traded by sea passes.

Iran media said the Islamic Republic rescued 44 crew members from two oil tankers and took them to Iran.  One of the tankers sailed under the Norwegian flag , other reports say the US Navy has confirmed that there has been a reported attack on US tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Reuters, citing 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 evacuated from the vessels. The crew was safe according to Reuters and Iranian media.

Immediately after receiving distress calls the  US Navy’s Fifth Fleet was responding  to the two oil tankers on fire in. One of the oil tankers that was hit is the Front Altair. It was struck by a torpedo off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates

Later an informed Iranian source said an Iranian rescue vessel had picked up the 23 crew members of one of the tankers and 21 of the other from the sea and had brought them to safety at Iran’s Jask, in the southern Hormozgan Province. This was reported by State-run IRNA reported on Thursday.

The vessels caught fire at 08:50 am Iranian time (04:20 GMT) on Thursday and the second one at 09:50.

Details about the incidents are still sketchy. While the US Navy claimed it had been assisting the tankers, the Iranian rescue vessel was first to reach them and rescue the crew, who had plunged into and were floating on the sea to avoid the fire.

In the meantime, chatter is becoming active on social media:

POST: Who profits out of attacking Norwegian ships? Certainly not Iran. Someone is trying to “bait” the EU, presumably to support Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US. Now who would do that?

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 United States.

Benchmark Brent crude spiked at one point by as much 4% in trading following the reported attack, to over $62 a barrel, highlighting how crucial the area remains to global energy supplies. A third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait, which is the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The latest incident comes after the U.S. alleged that Iran used mines to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah last month. Iran has denied being involved, but it comes as Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen also have launched missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

POST:   US Diplomatic sources say the #IRGC Navy attack at the Oil tankers in Oman Sea is high likely ordered by Supreme Leader of #Iran‘s Islamic Regime, Khamenei directly following to his dissatisfaction toward the Trump‘s Message which Japan‘s PM. ShinzoAbe delivered.

POST: Looks like we’re going to go with Iran to keep Trump from going to prison.

POST : The incident was an act of sabotage to thwart a bilateral meeting between Iran and the Japanese prime minister. The strong suspicion of perpetrators of sabotage is intelligence collaboration between Saudi Arabia & Israel. Iran is the enemy of the regime of Saudi Arabia & Israel.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.