…As US blames Iran for the explosions***
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on Thursday condemned the suspected attacks on two tankers, the Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair, off the coast of Oman.
The IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim indicated this in a statement by IMO Media and Communications Officer, Natasha Brown.
Brown highlighted that Lim made the declaration while speaking at the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 101st session at IMO Headquarters in London.
“These suspected attacks, coupled with the attacks in the UAE last month, concern me greatly.
“IMO has developed a comprehensive regime of regulation through the ISPS Code and the SUA Conventions and Protocols to prevent and respond to unprovoked, unlawful attacks on merchant shipping.
“The threat to ships and their crews, peaceably going about their business, is intolerable.
“I urge all Member States to redouble their efforts to work together to find a lasting solution to ensure the safety and security of international shipping around the globe and protection of the marine environment.
“I will carefully review the results of the investigations once they are completed, to consider if additional IMO action is warranted.”
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for “unprovoked attacks” on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, noting that the US made its assessment, based on intelligence about the type of weapons used.
A senior Iranian official had however, earlier told the BBC that “Iran has no connection” with the explosions which occurred, Thursday morning.
Dozens of crew members were rescued after the blasts on the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair, owned by Norway.
The explosions in one of the world’s busiest oil routes comes a month after four oil tankers were attacked off the United Arab Emirates.
No group or country has admitted the incident in May, which also caused no casualties.
The US at the time blamed Iran – but Tehran denied the accusations.
Oil prices jumped as much as 4% after Thursday’s incident.
The Gulf of Oman lies at one end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz – a vital shipping lane through which hundreds of millions of dollars of oil pass.
It is not unlikely that more condemnation would follow, even as the US may further tighten its sanctions-noose!
It would be recalled that two oil tankers were yesterday morning attacked in the Gulf of Oman, leaving both ablaze and adrifand one seriously devastated. The development instantly raised regional tensions, coming only a month after a similar incident involving four tankers.
Additional reports from BBC