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Reports on an Oil Tanker Explosion in the Gulf of Oman

DUBAI, UAE – Two oilmen in the Gulf of Oman, near the strategic strait of Ormuz, were reportedly attacked on Thursday, the US Navy said, leaving behind a fire and flames in the midst of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran and a visit to stakes Japanese prime minister’s highs in Iran, AP reported Thursday.
The benchmark Brent index rose 4 percent following the reported attack to more than $62 a barrel, according to early market data released Thursday.
Commodore Joshua Frey, a spokesman for the 5th Fleet, said the US Navy was assisting both ships. He did not specify how the ships were attacked or who was suspected of being behind the assault.
Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence company, has previously identified one of the vessels involved as the MT Front Altair, an oil tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. The ship was “on fire and adrift,” added Dryad.
He did not offer a cause for the incident or mention the second ship.
But a shipping company identified the second ship as Kokuka Courageous.
The Iranian television website, citing Iranian Lebanese satellite TV channel Al-Mayadeen, said two tankers had been targeted in the Gulf of Oman. He did not provide any evidence in support of the application.
United Arab Emirates officials declined to comment immediately.
Maritime commercial operations in the United Kingdom, a maritime security group led by the British navy, first launched the alert on Thursday morning, giving the incident details about 45 km off the Iranian coast.
The timing of the attack reported on Thursday was particularly sensitive, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveled to Iran on a high-stakes diplomatic mission.
On Wednesday, after talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Abe warned that any “accidental conflict” that could be triggered amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran should be avoided.
Abe met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday, the second and final day of his visit. There was no immediate detail on what they were discussing.
In Tokyo, Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a key spokesman for the government, told reporters that Abe’s visit was intended to help defuse tensions in the Middle East – without however, mediate between Tehran and Washington. His remarks were apparently aimed at minimizing expectations and minimizing them in an uncertain environment for Abe’s mission.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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