Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, shipping firms and industry sources said Thursday, sending oil prices as much as four percent higher a month after four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines in the region.
Saudi Arabia said it agrees with the US blaming Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman as the Americans produced a video on Thursday showing the removal of a mine from the side of one of the ships by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).
One of the tankers, the Front Altair, carrying a cargo of petrochemical feed-stock, was ablaze in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.
Iran’s state news agency said it had sunk, although the Norwegian owner had said it was afloat and its crew were safe. The other tanker was adrift without any crew.
The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls. The UK Maritime Trade Operations, a part of Britain’s Royal Navy, said it was investigating with its partners.
Full details about Thursday’s incident were not immediately clear. The firm that chartered one of the vessels said it suspected a torpedo had hit the ship, while a source said the other might have been damaged by a magnetic mine.
An investigation blamed limpet mines for last month’s attacks on four tankers. Saudi Arabia and the US blamed Iran for those attacks, a charge Tehran denies.
Oil prices surged as much as four percent after Thursday’s news.