SingaporeSingapore | AFP | Thursday 6/13/2019

A methanol tanker came under fire in the Gulf of Oman Thursday but all crew were saved after abandoning ship and its methanol cargo is intact, its Japanese operator Kokuka Sangyo shipping company said.

“It appears other ships also came under fire,” company president Yutaka Katada told reporters in Tokyo, confirming an earlier report from its Singapore management company about a “security incident” in the busy shipping waterway.

“Our crew members made evasive manoeuvers but three hours later it was hit again. The crew assessed that it was dangerous to stay on this ship, and they used lifeboats to escape,” added Katada.

Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters: “A tanker carrying Japan-related goods was attacked. There were no injuries among the crew members. They got off the tanker. There were no Japanese members.”

BSM Ship Management, based in Singapore, had earlier said in a statement that the 21 crew of the Kokuka Courageous had been rescued, with one receiving first aid for a minor injury.

“The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking. The cargo of methanol is intact,” BSM said.

Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Union on Thursday called for “maximum restraint” to avoid escalation after two oil tankers were reportedly attacked in the Gulf of Oman, forcing their crews to evacuate the vessels.
Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said “the region does not need further elements of destabilisation and tensions and therefore her (Mogherini’s) call and our call continues to be for maximum restraint and to avoid any provocations.”

Iran TV shows smoke billowing from tanker reportedly attacked

Iranian state television published a stills photograph and blurry video Thursday of what is said was a fire aboard one of the two tankers reportedly attacked off the Iranian coast.

The photograph showed flames and smoke billowing from the tanker. The video, apparently shot using a mobile phone, showed huge flames rising from the surface of the sea, seemingly fuelled by leaked flammable materials.