Early this morning the U.S. navy responded to an attack on two burning tankers after reports came that there was an attack in the Gulf of Oman. Off the coast in Iran, the USS Bainbridge was dispatched after the vessels suffered severe damage.
Joshua Frey, spokesman Cmdr. of the 5th Fleet said, “Navy forces in the region received two separate distress calls, around 6:12 a.m. local time and another at 7 a.m.” The owners of the 560-foot tanker said “the vessel had been struck by a projectile that pierced its hull and started a fire.”
“We received word that our ship was attacked,” Yutaka Katada, president of Japan’s Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, told a news conference.
These attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major waterway for world oil supplies. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for last month’s attacks using limpet mines on four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a charge Iran denies. In April, the Trump administration labeled the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group. Iran responded back by saying all U.S. forces are terrorists.
30% of the world’s crude oil passes through the straits. If waters become unsafe, supply to the entire Western world could be at risk. The attack has already caused oil prices to go up by 4% and fear of new confrontation between Iran and the U.S.
President Trump has demanded Tehran restrain its military programs and influence in the Middle East.
The prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran when Thursday’s attack occurred, while in Iran, he carried a message from Trump demanding that the Islamic Republic halt its military programs and its influence in the Middle East. These attacks came a day after Yemen’s Houthis fired a missile at an airport in Saudi Arabia that injured 26 people.