July 28, 2010
|The Japanese supertanker, M. Star.|
Bloomberg is reporting this morning that an oil tanker owned by the Japanese company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s second-largest oil-tanker fleet, may have been attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf bordering Iran.
There was an explosion aboard M. Star at 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time that slightly injured one crew member, Mitsui said in a statement. The ship is on its way to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to assess the damage. No oil is reported leaking from the vessel.
The explosion on the starboard side of the ship damaged hatches and a lifeboat, Corey Barker, a spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, speaking by phone from the fleet’s base in Manama, Bahrain, told Bloomberg. “The cause and extent of the damage is unknown and will be investigated,” he said.
“If it turns out to be an attack it will have implications for ships going in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, and would lead to delays and rising tanker rates,” said Ben Goggin, a freight derivatives broker at SSY Futures Ltd., a unit of the world’s second-largest shipbroker.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
There was a series of naval stand-offs between the U.S. and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz in December 2007 and January 2008. The Pentagon accused Iran of threatening the U.S. 5th Fleet but this was later contradicted by the Navy. According to Press TV, a naval officer “had literally given the order” to fire on the Iranian ships.
Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, commander of the the 5th fleet, said the U.S. ships “received a radio call that was threatening in nature to the effect that they were closing our ships and that … the U.S. ships would explode.” Iran characterized the radio communication as a standard transmission between ships.
On July 8, 2008, Ali Shirazi, a mid-level clerical aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said “U.S. shipping in the Persian Gulf will be Iran’s first targets and they will be burned” if there is an attack on Iran.
In July, 2008, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh told an audience at the Campus Progress journalism conference that Bush administration officials held a meeting Dick Cheney’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran. “There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up,” said Hersh.