The attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman which led to a massive fire on one of them and the evacuation of both, appeared to be the curtain-raiser to a larger crises. However regional powers are treading carefully, looking to Washington for leadership amid worries of another conflict in the Middle East. They already had to deal with a May 12 incident in which four ships were sabotaged, two from the UAE and one from Saudi Arabia and Norway. In the June 13 attack a Norwegian and Japanese-owned ship were attacked. Qatar, although it is in the Gulf, appears to busy meeting with the Iranians to actually do much about the incident. The Qataris were in Tajikistan for the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia on Saturday. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then the Iranians. He discussed “bilateral relations” with Iran and the … [Read more...] about Is the Middle East ignoring Gulf tanker crises?
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accused Iran of being responsible for attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz and a string of other incidents, saying the regime was engaged in "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tensions." Why it matters: Fears that the U.S. was on course for war with Iran had been reduced in recent days, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveling to Tehran on a Trump-endorsed mission to reduce tensions. But Pompeo's tone was hawkish today in declaring Iran "a clear threat to international peace and security." Pompeo did not present any evidence that Iran was responsible, or outline any steps the U.S. would take in response Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, denied responsibility for the attacks and said the timing was ""suspicious." Meanwhile Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, told Abe that Iran would not engage in negotiations with President Trump. Pompeo said Iran was attempting to follow through on its threat to … [Read more...] about Pompeo blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers
The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet is assisting 2 oil tankers it says were targeted in a reported attack on vessels in the Gulf of Oman, AP reported Thursday. Details: Oil prices jumped 3% on reports that crews evacuated from the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous tankers after they sustained significant fire damage in a tanker explosion, according to CNBC, citing multiple shipping agents and chartering sources. AP and Reuters also reported there had been an explosion on at least 1 of the vessels. What we know: The 5th Fleet said in a statement on its website it received 2 separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. 7:00 a.m Bahrain time. The U.K. Maritime Trade Operations, operated by the British Navy, issued an alert earlier Thursday saying it was assisting with an unspecified incident in the region. … [Read more...] about U.S. Navy assists 2 “targeted” oil tankers in Oman Sea
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on Mideast developments amid rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region (all times local): 11:25 a.m. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet says it is assisting two oil tankers targeted in the "reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman." The Bahrain-based force did not elaborate on who attacked what it described as two oil tankers. It also did not blame anyone for the attack. The 5th Fleet said it had sent naval forces to the area to assist the two vessels. One has been identified as the MT Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker. A private maritime intelligence firm says the Front Altair is adrift and on fire. ___ 11:15 a.m. Iran's state TV is reporting that the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid tension between Iran and United States. The meeting on Thursday morning, the second and final day of Abe's landmark visit, came amid reports of an oil … [Read more...] about The Latest: US Navy assisting 2 targeted tankers in Oman Sea
Huge explosions have been reported in the Gulf of Oman - with initial reports suggesting the blasts could have been caused deliberately. Today's blasts come a month after four vessels were attacked in the Emirati coast. According to Pakistani media, the tankers - said to be carrying crude oil - had sent distress signals. On May 12, four oil tankers were targeted off the coast in Fujairah in what has been described as an act of sabotage. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is part of the UK Royal Navy, said on "The UK and its partners are currently investigating," it said. The US blamed Iran for the Fujairah attack last month, with US National Security Adviser John Bolton stating: "It's clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. "Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?" We'll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story. Please check back regularly for updates on this developing story here at … [Read more...] about Explosions heard on two oil tankers in Oman with reports of fire