Gulf of Oman tanker attacks lift oil prices

Oil prices rose on Thursday following attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman for which the U.S. has blamed Iran.


Following initial reports by Tradewinds on Thursday that there had been a torpedo attack in the Gulf of Oman targeting two Frontline and Bernard Schulte tankers – the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous, respectively – the U.S. issued its own report labeling the incident as a limpet mine attack.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack and the U.S. Navy has released a video of what it says shows the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gashti Class patrol boat approaching the M/T Kokuka Courageous and apparently removing the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

Watch the video on our sister website Naval Today HERE. 

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif tweeted:”That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by @AbeShinzo—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran,” Zarif said on his official Twitter account on Friday.”

“B_Team” Zarif is referring to comprises U.S. National Security Advise John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Reuters reported that the attack caused a spike in oil global oil prices as around a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes through the nearby Strait of Hormuz, on “concerns of reduced crude flows of the commodity through one of the world’s key shipping routes.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday it was the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

“On April 22nd, Iran promised the world that it would interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. It is now working to execute on that promise,” Pompeo said, also using the opportunity to also blame Iran for the May 12 attacks on four ships near United Arab Emirates.

“On May 12th, Iran attacked four commercial ships near the Strait of Hormuz,” Pompeo said.

He also slammed Javad Zarif’s comments related to the June 13 attacks who said: “Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning. ”

Pompeo said of the comment:”Foreign Minister Zarif may think this is funny, but no one else in the world does. Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets, and engage in nuclear blackmail. The international community condemns Iran’s assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz, and we showed this by rushing to save the sailors of the incident-hit vessels in the shortest time possible,” IRAN FM spokesman.

The incident happened during the Japanese Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe’s visit to Iran this week.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi rejected Pompeo’s “anti-Iran accusations.” Mousavi said the oil tanker attacks were of “the suspicious nature.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz, and we showed this by rushing to save the sailors of the incident-hit vessels in the shortest time possible,” Mousavi said Friday.

“Pinning the blame on Iran for the suspicious and regrettable incident for the oil tankers seems to be the easiest and most simplistic thing Mr. Pompeo and other US statesmen could do,” he noted.

“While the Japanese prime minister is meeting with Iran’s top leader to discuss ways to ease regional tensions, which clandestine hands have been at work to undermine such efforts and who benefits from that?” the spokesman asked.

“Mr. Pompeo! The suspicious nature of incidents for oil tankers is not a joke. It is not only not funny, but it is also worrying and alarming,” Mousavi added.

Brent oil price had jumped 4.5% to $62.64 on Thursday after the news of the attack, before easing down to $61.39.

Boskalis to the rescue

Dutch offshore and marine giant Boskalis on Friday said it had been appointed as the salvor for both tankers that were hit in the Gulf of Oman.

“Shortly after the incidents, the insurers of both vessels appointed Boskalis subsidiary SMIT Salvage to salvage the vessels and their cargo. The situation of the Front Altair with a cargo of naphtha is still worrisome. The crew was able to safely leave the ship and the fire was extinguished yesterday afternoon. A salvage team was flown in to execute the salvage operation on site with accompanying specialist equipment. The Kokuka Courageous with a methanol cargo on board is now in a stable condition. Here too the crew was able to safely leave the vessel after which the ship was stabilized,” Boskalis said.

The Dutch company said that a towing connection had been successfully established and the crew was able to return to the vessel. The vessel is currently being towed to a port in the Gulf region, Boskalis said.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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