Two tankers have been damaged in the Gulf of Oman with many claiming this to be the result of a torpedo attack.

One of the vessels, the Front Altair, is “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” according to Taiwan’s state oil refiner, CPC Corp.

The other vessel, Kokuka Courageous, sustained damage to its starboard hull, say its owners.

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is assisting the two tankers.

“US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12am local time and a second one at 7:00am,” the fleet said in a statement.

“US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

The statement came after the UK’s Maritime Trade Operations put out an alert earlier on Thursday claiming an unspecified incident had taken place in the area.

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billythefish
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billythefish

Maybe at last the UK Government will reverse it’s strange policy of backing Iran against our closest ally the US now…however you never know these days

Harry Bulpit
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Harry Bulpit

Sorry but what has iran done to us that Saudi Arabia hasn’t? Why should we back an idiot just because hes the president of a country that we have had a historically close relationship with.

David E Flandry
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David E Flandry

An idiot did not produce the images of burning tankers in the Persian Gulf.

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
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The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Well The Saudis haven’t threatened to close the straights of Hormuz which will directly impact things here in Blighty (just ask anyone old enough to remember 1973 the last time those waters were affected). Iran has -February 2019 , Fars new agency cited Alireza Tangsiri head of Revolutionary guard as stating Iran will close the straights of Hormuz should they be prevented from oil export. This isn’t the first time they have made that threat. The Saudis haven’t kidnapped Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors by pointing guns at them and using them as propaganda on TV Iran has. The… Read more »

julian1
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julian1

Iran is a country that given revolution will happily embrace western values. Saudi Arabia is a country that given revolution will happily turn against the west. That’s what really tells you what these countries are about.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agree. The Persians are a very different breed and quite pro western given the chance.

David E Flandry
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David E Flandry

Agree with the most of that. Who will give them the chance? The ayatollahs certainly will not. And the West will not aid anyone wanting to live in the 21st century.

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
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The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

I agree with what you said totally 100% , all I’m saying is you have to look at what’s each country has actually done and judge them on their actions not what might happen or they might do if circumstances are different and the Iranian regime are far more dangerous than the Saudi’s that’s just reality.

Steven
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Steven

Why are you so quick to jump to conclusions BTF ?

spyintheskyuk
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spyintheskyuk

We are NOT backing Iran far from it but as Harry says why on earth should we support the whims of a President like some pet poodle. I thought the ‘if you aren’t with us you are against us’ philosophy was the realm of extremists from both left and right and sad to hear it expressed here as some norm.

David E Flandry
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David E Flandry

And what whims are we supporting? Trump does not want war with Iran, he knows it would be a disaster for election time,

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

I think waiting for more to emerge is wise before accusing Iran and others.

Mines maybe?

Alex T
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Alex T

Could be. The question then of course is – who laid the mines, who had an interest in doing so?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Legacy mines? Showing my ignorance here but were any mines laid by Germany or Japan in WW2 in the Persian Gulf? Or even in the First Gulf War between Iran and Iraq?

Alex T
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Alex T

Or the Turks in WW1?

Nick C
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Nick C

There were certainly mines used during and after the first Gulf War, and during the so called Tanker war. Some were tethered, and some were floated down the rivers and out to sea. Several ships were hit, including at least one US FFG 7. Iraqis also used Exocet at times, I think the USS Stark got hit?, the ship was saved by first class damage control. I don’t believe that any mines would have been laid in WW2, except possibly by us as a defensive measure. I know that both U Boats and Japanese submarines operated in the Indian Ocean,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Nick.

Interesting about U Boats in the Indian Ocean. I was aware of the German Merchant ships being used that far afield as raiders but not Submarines.

What is worrying for me is that two tankers were involved. One maybe a random hit on an old mine. Two?

Nick C
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Nick C

A bit like the Twin Towers, one aeroplane flying into a skyscraper could be an accident, another a few minutes later is not. Add the previous attack on the ships off Oman last month and a pattern is emerging. I suspect a lot of people are quite busy at the moment!

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agreed.

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

Yep a lot of my contacts in theater are…

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

No chance its legacy anything. The area of the straights are probably second only to Faslane for being route surveyed by MCMVs. If anything new pops up on the sea bed it will be known about pretty quickly.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Thank you. Bad news.

whlgrubber
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whlgrubber

no. and why would they be detonating now? because of limited damage I suspect frogmen and limpet mines bit like the cockershell heroe eh?

geoff
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geoff

A worrying development

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Not accusing anyone at this stage, but an interesting and relevant article nonetheless.
“Iran adds 2 mini submarines to naval fleet”
https://www.navytimes.com/flashpoints/2018/11/29/iran-adds-2-mini-submarines-to-naval-fleet/

spyintheskyuk
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spyintheskyuk

Yes I remember that now that indeed could be suspicious. The problem with countries like Iran is that one part of the ruling/military elite often doesn’t know what another part is doing or if it does has no power to exert any real control but has to deal with the situation post an event. Its a continuous power struggle between elements some of whom would no doubt love to create a world war that certain extreme religious factions believe their God has already informed them that they would win. There is always that narrow line between not giving such a… Read more »

billythefish
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billythefish

Indeed – looks pretty plausible. By the way both of those ships will probably burn out and sink. Naptha and Methanol – very light end hydrocarbons that will burn off and dissipate not causing any pollution of note. Nevertheless a navigational hazard for some days, and also the concern will be for the underwriters and the consideration of the area as an ”excluded area” under a war risks policy. No insurance means difficult to trade.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Back to the tanker war days of convoys through the straights?? That was a pain in the ar** for all involved. You formed up and then every man and his dog tagged on to the end trying to get free escort cover…

whlgrubber
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whlgrubber

this is worrying. didnt realise they had that capability. ideal units for this type of attack.

whlgrubber
Guest
whlgrubber

Just seen the latest videos of the two tankers. the point of impact is well above the waterline and that tends to rule out torpedo and limpet mines. That leaves anti ship missiles. the Iranians (and houthi rebels) have expertise in the use of these weapons. the drone night vision camera is intriging. is it a mine they are removing or is it a target enhancer like a lunarburg lens.? anybody know where the tankers cargos were loaded?

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

There is a strong likelyhood that the attacks where conducted by Yemen Hoothi rebels who are heavily backed with technical and physical military support from Iran. . The 4 ships hit recently where holed by what was in all likelyhood a limpit mine attached by divers who deployed from speedboats. These latest attacks have all the hallmarks of being hit by remote control speed boats. A number of similar attacks have been made against vessels both civilian and military over past months with a number of successes. In thie are of the latest attacks remote control boats need a mother… Read more »

spyintheskyuk
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spyintheskyuk

Yes, Powderkeg comes to mind.

Expat
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Expat

Press are say the cargo on these tankers has links to Japan, Iranians are saying it suspicious as they hosting Abe at the moment. The art of plausible deniability.

donald_of_tokyo
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donald_of_tokyo

Yes. Our prime minisitor Abe was meeting with Iranian top at the moment of attack. Very very political attack, I think.

As you know, Japan is a little “supportive” of Iran, historically. (of course not “very” supportive).

I am pretty not sure if it is from Iran. At least, maybe not from the top decision. I personally think it is from some terrorists who get the most merit from breaking the face of Hameini and Abe. I may be wrong, but at least it looks not logical.

donald_of_tokyo
Guest
donald_of_tokyo

One of the ship is Norwaian MV Front Altair.

Another ship is Japanese company operated, MV KOKUKA COURAGEOUS of Kokuka limited.

Kokuka’s CEO Yutaka Katada says “Attacked by two shells. First on the engine room. When the crews are trying to extinguish fire, another shell hit amidship. Then, captain decided to give up the ship. All crews are safe”.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

It will be Hoothis.
They have previous from other attacks in the red sea, off Yemen and now in the Gulf of Oman. They have also used drones to attack Saudi Oil pipelines and airports.
They are Iranian proxies so they are plausibly deniable…

Expat
Guest
Expat

Could be extremists/rogue elements in the Revolutionary Guards who believe they may benefit from the heightened tensions.

OOA
Guest
OOA

Who stands to gain from this? On first glance it would seem strange for Iran or a proxy to be behind this since they would know that they would be testing the USA and regional allies. They would also know that inaction and a perception of weakness would be highly unlikely response.

So what do they gain? We need to be very sure before acting or supporting action. The implications of another Iraq ‘45mins warning’ fiasco are dire for the fragile state of trust in politics

James
Guest
James

Just seems a really stupid thing for Iran to do and for what end? Higher oil prices or a a warning to the US? Some in a America are spoiling for a fight with Iran so for them to provoke or provide any excuse for them to do so seems unlikely. Unless like some have already said extremist factions wanting war

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

The US military does not want war, and are not shy about telling civilians why. But of course it must be the Us behind it, no proof needed.

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

David the US military doesn’t not have a single say about who their country goes to war with, James was clearly talking about the hawks in Washington in suits not uniforms.

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

Sure the military has a say in going to war. Already has weighed in several times.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

In what instance has the US military decided to go to war or has refused the order to go to war? The military can only advise, and even then the advice would be only operational advice, it has absolutely no say at all where are you getting this from?

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

There have been several instances where the US military has balked at taking military action. North Korea is one example, wish I had other ones, but its happened.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Things just went from bad to worse.
“US blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers”
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-48630374

whlgrubber
Guest
whlgrubber

The Tumb islands off Banda Abass are ideal hiding spots for small attack craft to operate in. I cannot see a sub operating in the gulf of hormuz area without been spotted, they are more likely to be in the Arabian sea operating from Jask and possibly deploying frogmen and limpet mines. Also i think a torpedo would have caused even more damage to those tankers.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Israelis probably.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Just seen the video of an IRG boat removing a limit mine from one of the tankers.
Its not proof that they did it… They could be removing it as a safety measure because its unexploded ordinance.
However it could be they are removing evidence…
Its virtual Saturday here today but there are a lot of people in work at the Base.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

A possibility that P Trump is shying away from military action?
“Pompeo on Iran: US considering range of options including military”
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/16/politics/mike-pompeo-iran-military-options/index.html