Mystery Tanker damage blamed on attack, Japan seeks details
2010-08-09 0:00

By Erika Solomon and Kiyoshi Takenaka | Reuters.com


Militants attacked a Japanese supertanker with explosives near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important shipping routes, the United Arab Emirates state news agency said on Friday.


The crew of the 333-meter-long M.Star reported an explosion shortly after midnight on July 28, injuring one seaman though causing no oil spill or disruption to shipping in the strategic waterway, bordered by Iran, Oman, and the UAE.

"An examination carried out by specialized teams has confirmed that the tanker has been the subject of a terrorist attack," state news agency WAM said, quoting an unidentified coastguard source.

"UAE explosives experts who collected and examined samples found a dent on the starboard side above the water line and remains of home-made explosives on the hull," the source said.

Two days ago, a militant group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the incident.

Security analysts based in the Gulf, some previously skeptical of suggestions the ship was attacked, said they believed the state news agency report.

"The UAE has no interest in portraying this as a terrorist attack," said Theodore Karasik, a security analyst of Dubai-based INEGMA. "So saying that it is, that’s significant."

The M.Star incident has provoked several theories about the cause, ranging from a freak wave to a collision with a U.S. nuclear submarine.

The ship’s hull was damaged on the starboard side, and a lifeboat was blown off the deck and windows and doors were smashed.

OWNERS AWAIT DETAILS

A spokeswoman for shipowner Mitsui O.S.K. said the company could not confirm details of the WAM report.

"The investigation on the tanker is still continuing, and while we are looking at all possibilities, the company has not heard anything that will help determine the cause of the damage," she said.

The company’s president, Koichi Muto, said he did not rule out the possibility of an attack, according to the Nikkei business daily.

Oil prices were not affected and there were no indications of shipping being more carefully patrolled in the Strait of Hormuz, oil traders said.

"No shipowners are panicking," a trader, who asked not to be named, said.

However, analysts said if a strike were confirmed, security for shipping would have to be increased.

"If the attack on the M.Star is not a one-time event, but others follow, it does place additional stress on both the shipping industry and the navies of the world," said J.Peter Pham, a strategic adviser to U.S. and European governments.

The narrow Strait of Hormuz handles 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil and is patrolled by U.S. and other warships. Karasik said while there were no signs of it yet, the incident may lead to changes in naval patrols in the region.

"You’ll see more warships patrolling in, around, and outside of the Strait," he said.

Industry sources said the tanker carried more than 2 million barrels of Qatar Land and Abu Dhabi Lower Zakum crudes, equivalent to about half of Japan’s daily oil needs.

Carsten Fritsch, an analyst with Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said the oil trade would not be affected by the attack because high inventories and spare OPEC capacity.

JAPAN SEEKING SAMPLES

A spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, part of an international coalition of navies that patrol Gulf waters, said U.S. Navy divers had taken part in examining the ship.

"Our experts will be in contact with UAE officials about their findings and the Fifth Fleet will continue to assist the Mitsui investigation," he said.

"Our coalition and regional partners have maintained constant vigilance in the area and we will continue to do so."

The UAE report said the M.Star had left local waters to resume its voyage to Japan, which trade sources confirmed.

A Japanese Transport Ministry official said that samples from the tanker, including some taken from the dent, were on their way to Japan to help pinpoint the cause of the damage.

"We’ve asked for any remains that could help us identify the cause. Some kind of soot may be among them. Something melted could be among them," the official said.

Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center said while details were still vague, it appeared that inexperienced militants had made a "very amateur attempt" at mimicking the 2000 suicide bomb attack on the U.S. warship Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, where a boat rigged with explosives killed 17 U.S. sailors.

The French-flagged oil tanker Limburg was attacked off Yemen using a bomb-laden dinghy in 2002, killing one crew member. Al Qaeda-linked militants linked to both attacks escaped from jail near the Yemeni city of Sanaa in 2006.

Article from: reuters.com



Related Articles
What nearly punched a hole in this Japanese oil tanker?
NEW oil spill: Tanker and carrier collide off Singapore
Russian oil tanker splits in half
Stage being set for "Dirty Bomb" false flag?
Expect a False Flag Terror Attack To Precede Invasion Of Iran
Daniele Ganser - How false flag operations are exposed (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
British POW describes the horror of the bombing of Dresden
2015-03-28 0:33
Partial Transcript of Interview with Victor Gregg, WW2 British solder and POW: Interviewer: "Tell us how it was that you were in Dresden at that time." Victor Gregg: "It was evil....thousands of firebombs dropping all over the place, heat, fire, people screaming, people burning, people alight. After about half an hour it started developing into something that was really bad....It was ...
Rape of 285,000 German Women at the End of WWII Trigger Damage Control by Mainstream Media
2015-03-27 20:25
Is Exposing Allied War Crimes an honorable act? No, it’s slandering heroes according to Daily Mail A recent article from the Daily Mail that pretends to look at the post WWII crimes and rapes of the Allies against the German people is actually damage control. It’s really an attempt to divert away from the true horrors that was visited upon Germany ...
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher
2015-03-27 2:12
Sweden’s Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan “only 1%” Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes. Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didn’t ...
More News »