A handout photo made available by the Norwegian shipowner Frontline of the crude oil tanker Front Altair after the fire onboard the ship in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Frontline/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS
The U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet reported this morning that it was aware of the reported attack on shipping vessels in the Gulf of Oman, with U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls. The call came it at about 6:12 a.m. local (Bahrain) time and at 7:00 a.m.
June 13 (Reuters) – Here is the latest from Reuters on attacks on two tankers on Thursday south of the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil is shipped:
* Panama-listed tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said
* The ship was attacked twice in three hours before all the crew were evacuated, the president of Japanese owner Kokuka Sangyo told reporters
* There had been an engine room fire on the tanker, which was carrying a cargo of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore
* A second ship, the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” at around 0400 GMT, said Taiwanese refiner CPC Corp, which had chartered the vessel
* The Aframax-class tanker loaded with 75,000 tonnes of naphtha was on fire, said Norwegian owner Frontline
* Frontline said the Front Altair was afloat, denying a report by Iran’s IRNA news agency that it had sunk
* Frontline said the crew of 23 comprised 11 Russians, 11 Filipinos and one Georgian
* They were rescued by the Hyundai Dubai, transferred to an Iranian navy vessel and are destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Frontline said
* No marine pollution has been reported, Frontline said
* The tanker was traveling from Ruwais, United Arab Emirates, to Taiwan, according to trade sources and Refinitiv Eikon data
* All 44 sailors from the two ships have been rescued by Iranian search and rescue teams, Tehran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported, citing an unnamed informed source
* U.S. President Donald Trump “has been briefed on the attack on ships in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said
* The U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain said it was assisting after receiving distress calls
* Oil prices surged by 4% on the news
* Tanker owners DHT Holdings and Heidmar suspended new bookings to the Gulf, three ship brokers said
(Reporting by Koustav Samanta and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore, Liang-Sa Loh and Yimou Lee in Taipei, Victoria Klesty and Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Jonathan Saul in London; editing by Jason Neely) (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.
Update from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) 6/13/2019 2:09:00 PM:
TAMPA (NNS) — “U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time and a second one at 7:00 a.m.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command received the calls from the M/V Front Altair and M/V Kokuka Courageous, who were operating in international waters of the Gulf of Oman.
USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) was operating in the vicinity and provided immediate assistance to the M/V Kokuka Courageous.
Twenty-one mariners from the M/V Kokuka Courageous, who abandoned ship, are currently aboard USS Bainbridge. A Navy P-8 is also providing support.”
– Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown, a CENTCOM spokesman
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