Oil Tankers Attacked: Explosions on two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

Two oil tankers damaged in Gulf 'attacks' | News

Two oil tankers damaged in Gulf 'attacks' | News

The suspected attacks occurred at dawn Thursday about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the southern coast of Iran.

The Norwegian-owned Front Altair ethanol tanker was hit by three explosions, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and continued to burn late Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is blaming Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers after two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. The impact happened above the water line so there was no damage to goods and fuel, and it is unlikely that the ship would sink, Katada said.

Crude oil prices surged as much as four percent following the incident over worries about Middle East supplies.

Pompeo did not take questions after giving the brief statement.

A U.S. official told Reuters that a mine was spotted near the same ship.

The UAE said the incident appeared to have been the result of a sophisticated and co-ordinated action by a state-actor.

It accused the U.S. and its regional allies, which include Iranian rival Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, of "warmongering".

Investigations into the previous attack on the four tankers struck on May 12 just by the UAE port of Fujairah led the U.S. to claim Iran was "almost certainly" behind that attack.

"We would like to know who was behind this incident", he told reporters after the meeting.

The trip is officially commemorating 90 years of diplomatic relations between Iran and Japan but Mr Abe has also said he is eager to try to calm tensions between the two sides.

A damaged ANDREA VICTORY ship is seen off the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019.

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Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it can not sell its oil due to United States sanctions.

The tensions between the USA and Iran are already high over the United States pullout from the 2015 nuclear accord and the reimposition of economic sanctions. Iran's oil exports have dropped to around 400,000 barrels per day in May from 2.5 million barrel per day in April a year ago.

The attacks, which came a month after a similar incident targeting four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, "demonstrate the clear threat that Iran poses to worldwide peace and security", Mr Cohen said.

However, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif hit back, writing on Twitter the United States had "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran-w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence". Tehran denied involvement, accusing the U.S. of waging an "Iranophobic campaign".

United States officials also shared a photo of the Japanese ship, apparently showing the unexploded mine before it was removed. But, the class of vessel, what the USA military has called a fast inshore attack craft (FIAC), was the same type of ship used by Iran to harass American warships in the Persian Gulf in recent years.

"I've asked the Security Council to remain seized of the matter and I expect that we will have further conversations about it and how to respond in the days ahead".

Kuwait's U.N. Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, president of the council for June, said after the meeting that all 15 council members had condemned the attacks.

When asked if the U.S. had shown any evidence to support its accusation that Iran was responsible, Al-Otaibi told reporters: "We didn't discuss any evidence".

The US accusations were made without "a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence", Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter on Friday. "Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified".

The US has been building up forces in the Middle East since early May, when the White House said it had evidence that Iran was preparing attacks against American troops in the region. In response, Iran has accused the USA of aggressive behaviour.

Iran then announced it was suspending some commitments under the nuclear deal.

The UK government is said to be in agreement with Washington. Each was loaded with petroleum products, and the Front Altair burned for hours, a fire that charred half of one of the vessel's sides and sent up a column of thick, black smoke.

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