Fartashphoto's Blog

Japanese tanker incident in Persian Gulf

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on July 28, 2010

A mysterious explosion hit a Japanese oil tanker near Iran in the vital Strait of Hormuz early on Wednesday, spotlighting a potential threat in a chokepoint for global oil supplies.

There were differing theories about the cause of the blast — which did not cause any serious injuries or an oil spill — ranging from a terrorist attack to an explosion of gases.

Port officials in the neighboring United Arab Emirates even said the ship was hit by a tremor-triggered wave.

“Since one of the crew saw a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast, the company suspects it was highly likely an attack,” the ministry said, adding that the immediate area was not known for piracy.

It said one crew member was injured and the ship was partly damaged but able to keep sailing after the blast hit at 12:30 am (2030 GMT Tuesday).

The Strait of Hormuz, less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) at its widest point, separates Oman from Iran and is the gateway into the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

Mohammad Hakimi, an Iranian shipping official, told Mehr news agency “the blast on the Japanese ship happened in Omani waters.”

And Attollah Sadr, head of Iran Shipping and Ports Organization, ruled out a terrorist attack. “Because of inflammable gases and vapors in oil tankers, a blast is likely,” he told Mehr.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from the petroleum Port of Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said. After the blast, the tanker headed to the Emirati port of Fujairah under its own power.


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