A HUGE oil tanker has reportedly been struck by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman, sparking fresh anger from the US towards the tyranical Islamic regime in Iran, and leading a UK maritime safety group to urge ‘extreme’ caution.
The attack has left one of the two tankers – the MT Front Altair – engulfed in flames and adrift, while 44 crew members were evacuated from both vessels and taken to an Iranian port. The US navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, following the incident near the Strait of Hormuz – the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf where a third of all traded oil passes through.
Japan’s trade ministry said the two vessels were carrying ‘Japan-related cargo’ and all crew members were saved, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – a close ally and friend of America and President Trump – was on a high-stakes visit in Tehran seeking to ease tensions between Iran and the US.
Iran’s Islamic extremist ‘Supreme Leader’ Ayatollah Ali Khameneni said following the incident on Thursday that while Tehran doesn’t want an atomic bomb, ‘America could not do anything’ to stop Iran if it did. The MT Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker, was struck by a torpedo, according to shipping industry newspaper TradeWinds. However, no one has officially claimed responsibility for the incident, which saw oil prices surge.
Benchmark Brent crude oil rose more than four per cent in trading to over $62 (around £48.92) a barrel after reports of the incident. South Korean firm, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., has confirmed all the 23 crew aboard one of the tanker have been rescued by one of its cargo vessels sailing in the area. The Seoul-based firm said there were three rounds of explosion sounds at the MT Front Altair before it sent an emergency distress call. A company statement said its 3,000-ton Hyundai Dubai vessel sent a lifeboat to rescue MT Front Altair’s crew members before embarking them on the cargo vessel. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, run by the British Navy, said the UK and its partners were investigating the incident near the Iranian coast.
The attack comes after Iran and the US each officially recognised parts of each others military groups as ‘terrorists’, and the US President Trump having openly stated that if Iran made anymore attacks on the US or its territories, it would spell ‘the end of Iran’