Japanese-owned oil tanker Kokuka Courageous.
PHOTO BY TRADE WINDS
DUBAI – A Japanese-owned oil tanker that was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman arrived off the coast of the UAE on Sunday (June 16), its management said.
Kokuka Courageous was attacked last week along with Norwegian-operated Front Altair. Its operator told reporters that the crew saw a “flying object” before the attack on the oil tanker, casting doubts that a mine caused on explosion that damaged the vessel..
BSM Ship Management said the vessel “arrived safely at the designated anchorage at Sharjah.”
The crew members were also “safe and well”, according to BSM Ship Management, adding that the ship’s cargo will be transferred after standard security checks and formalities.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Thursday, Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of responsibility.
The ports chief of Iran’s Hormozgan province told news agency ISNA that the other oil tanker, Front Altair, is heading towards the Fujairah-Khor Fakkan area in the UAE.
State news agency IRNA earlier reported that the ship sunk due to damage from the attack. This was quickly refuted by a spokesman from Front Altair, who said that “vessel hasn’t sunk”.
A spokeswoman for Frontline Management, which owns the ship, said that all 23 crew members had flown to Dubai on Saturday.
Front Altair was reportedly carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha during the incident. The oil tanker, believed loaded with oil in Abu Dhabi, reportedly sailed from the UAE port of Al Ruwais late on Tuesday and was set to arrive at the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung on June 30.
Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous sailed off from the Saudi port of Al Jubail on June 10 and was set to reach Singapore on June 22. A spokesman from Bernhard Schulte Ship management said that 21 crew abandoned ship after the incident. The ship’s starboard hull was reportedly damaged, but the oil tanker “is not in danger of sinking”, the spokesman said.
According to media reports, both oil tankers were on fire after the attacks, but that their crew members were evacuated to safety. Iran state media said that the country rescued 44 crew members from both vessels. ICA/Expat Media
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