In the early hours of this morning, two vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz towards the Indian Ocean were attacked by unknown entities causing hull breach explosions that rendered the vessels inoperable. The sailors were evacuated.
The Norwegian owned “Front Altair” (cargo: 75,000 tonnes of naphtha), and the Japanese owned “Kokuka Courageous” (cargo: 25,000 tonnes of methanol) were struck in the Gulf of Oman; the same strategic sea lane where four oil vessels were sabotaged last month.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has identified Iran as the government responsible for the attacks. [Press Conference Video]
No doubt Iran feels empowered to attack Western interests partly due to the support expressed by former Secretary of State Kerry and former President Obama. Both have created an open window for Iran by undermining President Trump.
(Via Daily Mail) […] The Altair had been loaded at a port in the Gulf with a petroleum product known as naphtha, and was on its way to the Far East.
The Altair’s cargo was worth more than $30million, according to estimates from trade sources.
Meanwhile, a shipping broker said the Kokuka, which flies under Panama’s flag, had suffered an explosion after an ‘outside attack’ which may have involved a magnetic mine.
The company operating the ship, which was heading to Singapore, said the attack had caused ‘damage to the ship’s hull starboard side.’
The Kokuka’s 21 crew were picked up by the nearby Vessel Coastal Ace, leaving the tanker adrift and empty after an engine room fire.
One of the crew members was slightly injured in the incident and received first aid on board the Coastal Ace, while the Kokuka’s methanol cargo is said to be intact. (read more)