Gulf of Tonkin 2.0? Regardless of whether Iran is responsible for damage to vessels in the Sea of Oman, Bloomberg’s Julian Lee explains, it will still get the blame – and suffer the fallout.
Two ships with one stone:
Saudis get i) higher oil price ii) US to attack Iran
Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them.
Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn’t responsible, it will still suffer the consequences.
The first tanker to report a problem was the Front Altair. It was reported to be carrying 75,000 tons of naphtha, loaded in Abu Dhabi, to Japan, although it was signaling a destination of Kaosiung in Taiwan when it was damaged. The second vessel was the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.
A person who’s heard local radio transmissions between ships in the region told Bloomberg that a torpedo attack is suspected to have caused an explosion and fire on the Front Altair. The managers of the Kokuka Courageous said in a statement that “the 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side.”
The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point, with about 40% of seaborne trade passing through it.
Source: bne IntelliNews
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