AN OIL tanker left blazing in the Gulf this morning has sunk Iran has claimed – as the US Navy mulls escorting ships in the troubled region.
Shocking images showed the ship ablaze and smoke pouring out into a column several kilometers high. The US Navy scrambled warships to the area and it has since been reported they are considered offering oil takers protection in the troubled area.
The mine and alleged torpedo strikes follow rising tensions with Iran, with President Trump dispatching extra battleships to the region and withdrawing US citizens from Iraq amid fear of missile attacks.
Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, was quick to blame Iran, saying: “The continuation of the Iranian regime’s aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences.”
The Japanese have also revealed that the two tankers had been carrying “Japan-related cargo”.
Meanwhile, the price of oil jumped by around three percent after the attack and there are fears for global supplies if conflict in the region escalates.
Paul d’Amico from the tanker association INTERTANKO said he was extremely worried about the safety of cargo and crews going through the Strait of Hormuz, where the attack happened.
One of the ships, the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo”, Taiwan’s state-owned petrol company said earlier.
The second tanker, Kokuka Courageous, was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the waterline.