The crews were evacuated from two burning super oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman after they were hit by explosions on Thursday, June 13. Both captains sent distress calls to ports in Oman and Pakistan. Iranian news sources cited local sources in Oman as saying that the explosions were caused by attacks on the tankers.
The vessels were flagged to the Marshal Islands and Panama but there was no immediate word on the ownership of the oil cargoes or their destination.
The British navy’s Maritime Trade Operations initially put out an alert for an “unspecified incident” in the Gulf of Oman and urged “extreme caution.”. The US Navy’s Bahrain based 5th Fleet responded it was aware of the incident and investigating. Meanwhile, the US Navy was extending assistance to the damaged vessels following distress calls.
The explosions come a few weeks after four other oil tankers were sabotaged off the port city of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, in an attack widely attributed to Iran.
DEBKAfile: After the first round of low-key attacks by Iran on the oil of America’s Gulf allies, its embassy in Baghdad and Israel’s Hermon posts failed to provoke the Trump administration into easing sanctions, Tehran launched a second, ramped-up round of aggression on Thursday.
Details are still awaited on the form of the attacks on the two supertankers. The four tankers sabotaged at Fujairah had remote-controlled limpet mines attached to their hulls by frogmen. The successive explosions in the Gulf of Oman also point to the use of some form of remotely-controlled explosive device.