DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Two oil tankers in Oman Bay, near the strategic Hormuz Strait, were apparently attacked on Thursday, the US Navy said with a thrust and on fire due to elevated tensions between Washington and Tehran and a metropolitan visit by the Japanese Prime Minister to Iran.
Benchmark Brent picked up 4% in trade after the reported attack, over $ 62 a year. barrel according to early market figures Thursday.
The latest incident comes after the United States claimed that Iran used mines to attack four oil tankers from the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah last month. Iran has refused to be involved, but it comes as Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen have also launched missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman, said the US Navy helped the two vessels. He did not say how the ships were attacked or suspected to be behind the assault.
Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence company, for the time being identified one of the vessels involved such as MT Front Altair, a marshmallow's flagship crude oil tanker. The ship was "on fire and driving," added Dryad. It did not give rise to the incident or mention the other ship.
The Iranian state television site, referring to the Iranian Lebanese satellite news channel Al-Mayadeen, said two oil tankers were targeted in Oman Bay. It produced no evidence to support the claim.
United Arab Emirates officials immediately refused to comment. The UK's Maritime Trade Operations, a maritime safety group run by the British Navy, first launched on the first Thursday at the beginning, giving coordinates of the incident about 45 kilometers from the Iranian coast.
The schedule for Thursday's reported attack was particularly sensitive as Japanese Prime Minister shinzo monkey visited Iran on a high performance diplomatic mission. On Wednesday, Abe warned on Wednesday, after talking to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, that any "unintentional conflict" that could be triggered by the increased tensions between the US and Iran must be avoided.
His message came just a few hours after Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi Arabian airport that hit the arrivals hall before dawn and injured 26 people on Wednesday.
Abe met with Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday the second and last day of his visit. There were no immediate details of what they were discussing.
In Tokyo, Japan's chief secretary Yoshihide Suga, a senior government spokesman, told reporters that Abe's trip was meant to help escalate the tensions in the Middle East ̵
His remarks were apparently meant to downgrade and lower expectations among uncertain prospects for Abe's mission.
The tensions have escalated in Mideast when Iran appears to break the 2015 nuclear power with world powers, one that Trump administration pulled out last year.