The two oil tankers, that became subject of two subsequent attacks on Thursday while transiting the Gulf of Oman, are being assessed off the coast of the United Arab Emirates before their cargoes are unloaded, the ships’ operators said on Sunday.
The Japanese product tanker ‘Kokuka Courageous’, managed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), arrived safely at the designated anchorage at Kalba, UAE, on 16 June.
The damage assessment and preparation for the ship-to-ship transfer cargo will commence once the port authorities have completed their standard security checks and formalities.
Our crew remain on board the MT Kokuka Courageous. They are safe and well,
…the manager added.
The tanker was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull on the starboard side, above the water line, while on passage from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, on 13 June. There were no injuries or pollution, but the crew evacuated the vessel as a precaution.
Another similar incident was reported at the same time in the region, involving the tanker ‘Front Altair’ which caught a fire as a result of the suspected attack. Both vessels remained adrift.
The crew of the Front Altair, who had been picked up by Iranian boats, departed Iran from Bandar Abbas airport to Dubai International Airport on Saturday, the ship’s operator Frontline said.
A specialist team will inspect the Front Altair before deciding on how to unload its naphtha cargo.
The ship is now being towed towards the offshore part of Fujairah emirate, the company said.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown to the Company, although we have ruled out the possibility that it was caused by mechanical or human error. The incident will be thoroughly investigated by the Company along with third parties, including governmental officials, to determine the cause,
The news of two subsequent suspected attacks against two different ships in the Gulf of Oman Thursday morning made headlines amid an ongoing tension in the Middle East and only a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.
The attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies, heightening tensions between Iran and the US and its Gulf allies. Shortly after the incident, oil prices surged by 4%.
Shipping industry condemned the attacks, with the IMO Secretary General, the International Chamber of Shipping and INTERTANKO noting that this is an intolerable situation threatening the lives of seafarers, the environment and the world economy.