Two oil tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman

Attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman risk escalating conflict in the Middle East. It has already resulted in an increase in the price of oil.

Reuters: Tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman stoke fears over conflict and oil

Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and that the U.S. government would continue to assess the situation. Washington accused Tehran of being behind a similar attack on May 12 on four tankers in the same area, a vital shipping route through which much of the world’s oil passes.

Tensions between Iran and the United States, along with its allies including Saudi Arabia, have risen since Washington pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it cannot sell its oil due to U.S. sanctions.

No one has claimed Thursday’s attacks and no one has specifically blamed them on any party.

Reuters:  U.S. calls attacks on commercial shipping ‘unacceptable’

The United States on Thursday called attacks on commercial shipping “unacceptable” and told the U.N. Security Council that the latest assaults on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that left one ablaze and both adrift “raise very serious concerns.”

That’s stating the obvious.

“It’s unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping and today’s attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman raise very serious concerns,” acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jonathan Cohen told a council meeting on U.N. and Arab League cooperation on Thursday morning.

“The U.S. government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned at the meeting that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region.”

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah described the tanker attacks as a threat to international peace and security.

“This is the most recent event in a series of acts of sabotage that are threatening the security of maritime corridors as well as threatening energy security of the world,” he said.

Maybe some tariff threats will sort this out.

Last August: The US has reimposed sanctions on Iran. 

When President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May, he also said the US would reimpose strict sanctions on Tehran.

Starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, financial penalties that former President Barack Obama removed from Iran as part of the nuclear agreement snap back into place.

On November 4, even more sanctions that Obama lifted will kick back in. Those will hit Iran’s oil exports and energy sector, a key industry for the country; financial institutions working with the Central Bank of Iran; port operators and shipbuilding sectors; and the provisions of insurance and financial messaging services.

Or not.

The goal of the sanctions, according to the senior administration officials, is to cripple the Iranian economy to the point that the regime must end its support for terrorism and negotiate an end to its nuclear program with the US.

Another possibility was an escalation in tensions and unintended consequences.

Reuters:  Latest on tanker attacks south of Strait of Hormuz

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

Oil and the Middle east have long been problems that have been short on effective solutions.

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37 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. David

     /  14th June 2019

    The Iranian deal was shameful and done so German and French companies could do deals and Obama would have a legacy. The Iranian regime was on its knees when that shabby deal was done and since then they have taken their billions and funded terrorism throughout the region.
    They were behind a terror plot in Europe last year and still the Germans and French as always put money ahead of everything.

    Reply
    • You forgot to include Hilary in your rant so I’ll put it in.

      The Iranian deal was shameful and done so German and French companies could do deals and Obama would have a legacy. The deal also enable Hilary Clinton to import Bulgarian child for her pedophile ring run from a Washington pizza parlour. The Iranian regime was on its knees when that shabby deal was done and since then they have taken their billions and funded terrorism throughout the region.
      They were behind a terror plot in Europe last year and still the Germans and French as always put money ahead of everything.

      Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  14th June 2019

      David you could be in the first wave invading Iran,do post and tell us how it’s going

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  14th June 2019

      what does that placard of yours say David?

      ‘bring back the…Shah’!

      Reply
  3. Well, this will be a test for Trumpy and all his “best people”. Bolton, Pompeo, Kushner. Can Saudi Arabia manipulate this crew into a war with Iran. Yes, yes they can. Stand by for large oil price rises and Trump to start war profiteering.

    Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th June 2019

    Iran responds to Trump’s view that they can’t be trusted by proving him right.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  14th June 2019

      Either that or one or more of several possible other actors have deliberately made it look that way. The situation seems very murky & the evidence likely to be questionable.

      This is an incredibly high risk strategy for Iran who by most assessments would clearly be likely to suffer the most from any retaliation or military consequences. Rhetoric is one thing (and typical of Middle Eastern countries), but national suicide another.

      Who can you believe of all those involved in this area (including the US, Israel, Saudis etc) with the capability to mount or fake an attack and with an interest in provoking a war against Iran?

      Reply
      • Agreed. Its far from clear who was responsible and given the b******t the US feed the world over Iraq, (and the Gulf of Tonkin) I wouldn’t put it past the US to stage this attack.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  14th June 2019

          I doubt it would be the US, but I wouldn’t rule out other local actors, whether with or without US knowledge. But yes, we only need to remember Iraq & the build up of US state department & intelligence agency false intelligence. This situation is very smelly.

          Reply
        • Patzcuaro

           /  14th June 2019

          And Trump has endorsed Boris Johnson, so will he do a “Tony Blair”.

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  14th June 2019

          same…looks like frogmen have attached limpet mines to the ships.

          Reply
        • harryk

           /  14th June 2019

          Scepticism yes, conspiracy theories no.

          We lost a boat there in ’87 during the tanker war phase of the Iran Iraq war, near Queshm Island. Shot by a French made Iraqi jet with a French made exocet. The US had military advisers in Iraq assisting with targeting. They drew up exclusion boxes and anything inside was killed. The story for the media was that Iraq was losing the war and going feral to pressure the US to intervene and save them. Some of the details in the piece below are incorrect. The skipper was Bob Wellcock not Wilcox, an aboriginal man whose awful nickname was ‘Abo’ not ‘Banana Bob.’

          “If they [Australian vessels] are fishing in international waters [it is all right] but in this area, military area … we will destroy any ship, anything in the Iranian waters,” he said.

          Note the Iraqi spokesman made no distinction between civilian and military vessels. Terrorism.

          https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/122105129

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  15th June 2019

            “The US had military advisers in Iraq assisting with targeting.”

            Were these US advisers also assisting in targeting the USS Stark?

            ” Shot by a French made Iraqi jet with a French made exocet”

            Seems are remarkable waste to use an exocet to sink a fishing boat. The Iraqi’s never had many, and they are far more expensive than most fishing boats. They could have sunk the fishing boat with a machine gun far more economically.

            Reply
            • harryk

               /  15th June 2019

              Nevertheless that’s what happened. Exocet fired from a Super Etendard. The wheelhouse was melted as was Bobby. The Mate was wounded on deck as the missile, locked on to the wheelhouse, passed, melting his shoulder and knocking him over. The crew were trapped in their bunks under the wheelhouse. Rescued, given a morphine shot and taken to their base in Bahrain from where the boat was towed to Singapore and sold. The similarity and easy convertability of ottter board trawl gear nets unshackled to minesweeping may have aroused suspicion. The Iraqi airforce was a home for Assyrian and Chaldean Chirstians. Somewhere, probably having fled as a refugee to the West, there’s a pilot who knows.

      • Blazer

         /  14th June 2019

        I would look to Mossad for the answers.

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th June 2019

        I don’t see the Saudis blowing up their own tanker even if they could. The targets look like Iran’s targets. No way the US would be directly implicated. And Iran would be going ballistic if it wasn’t them whereas it just sounds like they are making distraction noises.

        Reply
        • NOEL

           /  14th June 2019

          Iranian certainly been blowing smoke. Claimed initially the rescued 44 sailors from both ships. Latest is that one of the ships with 21 were rescued by the US destroyer and the Russian Embassy is claiming the 12 Russians from the other ship were in Iran.
          One ship been US registered, not withstanding as a flag of convenience, has the potential to muddy things.

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  14th June 2019

          how does Iran benefit?

          Reply
  5. lurcher1948

     /  14th June 2019

    trump knows where the weapons of mass destruction are

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  14th June 2019

      somewhere near the ‘weapons of mass DECEPTION’.. where Bush & Co. left them :/

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  14th June 2019

        ooooh; not another 911-style ‘conspiracy’ theory 😀

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  14th June 2019

        Dont forget Gulf of Tonkin attacks which we now know were imaginary.

        Reply
  6. The timing of these attacks is suspicious, given that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran yesterday when the attacks occurred.

    In light of that meeting, Pompeo’s claim that Iran attacked a Japanese-owned oil tanker to spark a maritime emergency and escalate tensions is counterintuitive.

    Given the Trump administration’s love of weaponising fake news as a propaganda tool, I’m reserving judgement for now.

    Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  14th June 2019

    US Navy video claiming to show Iranian Republican Guard removing limpet mine from one of the tankers. Pretty blurry. Was expecting better quality. Make of it what you will.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  14th June 2019

      if you had just rescued people from a burning ship,it would make sense to remove any other dangerous ordnances.

      Stiil.. what has Iran to gain by any attack?

      Reply
  8. Zedd

     /  14th June 2019

    BBC reports WTC7 collapse.. 20 minutes before it reportedly happened & they still us to believe everything we are ‘told’ on FOX-news etc. As for WTC 1 & 2 ???

    … BUT you cant fool all the people ALL the time… just sayin’ :/

    Reply

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