…Both dead on fire, as crew bail out***
Two tankers, a crude tanker, FRONT ALTAIR and a chemical carrying tankers, KOKUKA COURAGEUS were this afternoon said to to be though afloat, but nonetheless burning dead in the water.
Crude oil tanker FRONT ALTAIR with cargo of crude, en route from Al Ruways UAE to Taiwan, and chemical tanker KOKUKA COURAGEUS with cargo of methanol, en route from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, caught fire after reportedly, being attacked in Gulf of Oman, in roughly the same area in vicinity 25 20N 057 30E, see pic.
Both tankers were under way, and no one could highlight what exactly hit them, except for guesses from some sources which mentioned torpedoes.
FRONT ALTAIR was attacked at around 0230 UTC, while the KOKUKA COURAGEUS was attacked some 3 hours later at around 0600 UTC.
A report by Fleetmon indicated that it was indeed a major fire, that was sighted on board of FRONT ALTAIR which appeared more devastated, while the second tanker, KOKUKA COURAGEUS, is understood to be slightly safer. It could not be confirmed what hit them, except for an initial speculation which said it could be torpedoes attack.
According to Japanese sources, KOKUKA COURAGEUS was hit by something in engine room area starboard, above waterline. A hit which was also followed by an explosion caused, culminating in a fire in the engine room.
The FRONT ALTAIR was said to be suffering fire on the starboard, in the middle – stern tanks area, judging from photos published by Iranian News Agency.
Looks similar to Iranian crude oil tanker SANCHI (IMO 9356608, dwt 164154) fire in Jan 2018, after collision, which burned out and sank, claiming lives of all crew.
“If photos are real, it’s a major fire which probably may lead to total loss, if no salvage actions taken ASAP”, indicated a report, noting that the FRONT ALTAIR latest AIS timed 12.30 UTC, signal out for about an hour. May be, fire had reached the bridge and destroyed AIS.
Reportedly crews of both tankers abandoned ships and were picked up by nearby merchant ships. As of 1610 UTC Jun 13, both ships were drifting, but their AIS were still on, meaning that fire didn’t destroy or damage superstructure and bridge.
Nothing decisive can be said about attacks, who, why and how, and any version is nothing more than speculation, as of now. Including torpedoes hits version.