Two Tanker Ships Damaged In Suspected Attacks In The Gulf Of Oman

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Winston, Jun 13, 2019.

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  1. Jun 13, 2019 #1

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    Note that oil and, as a result, gasoline prices had been dropping. There was a spot on local news last night about that and that gasoline prices were expected to continue dropping. That was before these incidents made the news.

    Two Tanker Ships Damaged In Suspected Attacks In The Gulf Of Oman (Updated)
    The incidents come as the region is extremely on edge as tensions between the U.S., its Gulf State allies, and Iran continue to rise.
    June 13, 2019

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...-tanker-is-on-fire-in-the-sea-of-oman-reports

    Whatever happened, it occurred at a time when the entire region is extremely tense following an influx of U.S. forces due to largely unspecified intelligence reports about Iran spinning up operations against U.S. interests in the Middle East. A number of tankers were struck by what appears to be Limpet Mines shortly after the U.S. said it was speeding the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the region in an act of deterrence. Nobody has claimed responsibilities for those attacks that resulted in less than catastrophic damage to the tankers, although the U.S. and its partners in the region have stated that they think it was the work of irregular Iranian proxy forces.

    Limpet mine damage:

    https://the-drive.imgix.net/https:/.../message-editor%2F1560409758874-adads222.jpeg

    U.S. Sees State Actor Behind Oil Tanker Attacks in Gulf Region
    June 13, 2019
    Second assault in month on ships near the vital oil chokepoint
    Oil prices rose as much as 4.5% to more than $61 a barrel

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...-on-fire-in-sea-of-oman-u-k-body-starts-probe

    Two oil tankers were damaged on Thursday in a suspected attack near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, stoking fears that high-stakes diplomatic efforts won’t avert a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran. Oil prices surged.

    The incidents, including an attack on a Japanese-operated vessel, were the second in a month to hit ships near the Strait of Hormuz chokepoint, through which about 40% of the world’s seaborne oil travels. They come as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a rare ally of both Donald Trump and Iranian leaders, visits Tehran in an effort to ease tensions.

    “Even in the absence of ironclad evidence, the U.S. and its allies will point the finger at Iran,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics. “These incidents are a bad omen because they point to a calculated escalation that tells us both sides are hunkering down.”

    The prospects of a conflict have spiked since the Trump administration tightened its sanctions on Iranian oil exports in early May. Trump abandoned a year ago the 2015 deal that was meant to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb and reimposed sanctions in a bid to force the Islamic Republic to rein in its military program and proxy militias.

    Facing economic catastrophe, Iran has threatened to retreat from the accord itself unless European parties throw it an lifeline. Its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, told Abe on Thursday that his country would not repeat the “bitter experience” of talks with the U.S.

    The Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said it received two separate distress signals at 6:12 a.m. and about 7:00 a.m. local time. “U.S. Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance,” Commander Josh Frey, a spokesman, said. He couldn’t confirm reports that one of the vessels was struck by a torpedo. Iran said it has rescued 44 sailors.

    The manager of one tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, said it was sailing in international waters when it was damaged by an explosion, whose cause “is as yet unknown.” The Norway Maritime Authority said there were three detonations on board. The ship had loaded a cargo of naphtha in Abu Dhabi and was bound for Taiwan, a company official said.

    A distress call over VHF radio from the Front Altair said the ship was “under attack and on fire," said Donald MacLeod, a navigation officer on a vessel about 45 miles away on the Oman Sea. "They had to abandon ship."

    Kokuka Sangyo, the Japanese operator of the other ship, said it was attacked twice, three hours apart, forcing the crew to evacuate. The tanker was carrying 25,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Asia.


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  2. Jun 13, 2019 #2

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/e...rrel-to-price-2019-06-13?mod=mw_theo_homepage

    “Targeting oil tankers that belong to politically and militarily weak countries, laden with only Saudi or Emirati oil, in the least protected area of the region, at a specific time in cloudy weather, is not a coincidence,” independent energy expert, Anas Alhajji, a former chief economist at NGP Energy Capital Management, told MarketWatch. “These are sophisticated attacks that are planned by state actors. The level of information and planning needed cannot be done by individuals or independent groups.”

    One of the vessels involved Thursday has been preliminarily identified as involved as the MT Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged crude-oil tanker, the AP reported, while the other is operated by a Japan-based company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    “The irony is, not only Saudi and UAE oil is targeted, but even those in Asia who decided to stop importing from Iran,” said Alhajji. “These attacks will not only raise the political and insurance premium, they will lower supplies too,” so there’s a “triple-layer impact.”

    It’s difficult to measure just how much of a price impact this will have on oil, but in the event of further escalation, prices may climb as much as $7 a barrel, Alhajji said.

    Many uncertainties prevail, however. “It remains unclear who the actors are behind the recent spate of tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman,” said Cailin Birch, global economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “Iranian authorities will continue to deny responsibility, either directly or indirectly through proxies. Houthi rebels fighting Saudi forces in Yemen are also suspected of being behind the attacks.”
     
  3. Jun 15, 2019 #3

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

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    Kinda' obvious they're trying to start something, no? Or at least raise oil prices because the US oil embargoes are having a horrible effect on their economy.

    U.S. Says Video Shows Iranian Forces Removing Dud Mine From Damaged Tanker (Updated)

    Images also show what appears to be an undetonated magnetic mine attached to the hull of the tanker not far from where another one exploded.
    13 Jun 2019

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...-forces-removing-dud-mine-from-damaged-tanker

    Iran Tried To Shoot Down U.S. Reaper Drone Near Tankers Hours Before Attacks: Report
    The unmanned aircraft, which survived, was reportedly watching Iranian boats in the same general area where the attacks occurred.
    14 Jun 2019

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...rone-near-tankers-hours-before-attacks-report

    Iranian boats reportedly tried and failed to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone flying, which was monitoring their movement in the Gulf of Oman just hours before attacks on a pair of oil tankers in the same general area two days ago. This comes amid separate reports that Iran has been interfering with the ongoing efforts to recover one of the two tankers, the Front Altair, which had suffered a serious fire in the incident.

    CNN was first to report the new details, citing an unnamed U.S. government official, on June 14, 2019. The source described the weapon the Iranian's employed as a "missile," but did not specify what type. They added that it had missed the drone and fallen into the ocean. They did not say whether or not the unmanned aircraft had subsequently observed the Iranians conducting any actual attacks on the Front Altair or a second tanker, the Kokuka Courageous.

    Given the generally small size of Iran's various armed speed boats, it seems very likely that the weapon in question was a short-range, heat-seeking, man-portable, shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile, commonly known as MANPADS, which stands for Man Portable Air Defense System. Iran's military and quasi-military Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) both have various types of these weapons in service, including locally produced clones and derivatives of Chinese models.
     
  4. Jun 18, 2019 #4

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

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  5. Jun 20, 2019 #5

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

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    Everything We Know About Iran's Claim That It Shot Down A U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk Drone (Updated)

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...hat-it-shot-down-a-u-s-rq-4-global-hawk-drone

    Iran's IRNA news agency says the drone was shot down when it entered Iran's airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in Hormozgan province. This stretch of Iranian coastal territory lays near equally on both sides of the Straits of Hormuz. Kouhmobarak sits on the southern approach to the strait, very near where the tanker attacks occurred.

    ...the RQ-4 flies at upwards of 65,000 feet, so this would have been a sophisticated radar-guided surface-to-air missile that shot the aircraft down, not a shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missile. Iran has plenty of capability in this regard, including an advanced version of Russia's S-300 system. Firing on an aircraft with this type of weapon would definitely be viewed as an escalation. Alternatively, the aircraft could have been brought down by an Iranian fighter aircraft, but this is less likely.

    ...the RQ-4N BAMS-D (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator) aircraft that were the experimental precursor to the Navy's MQ-4C.
    [so, it appears to be one of the 2 prototypes mentioned in the Wikipedia article below - W]

    The loss of an RQ-4 isn't just an escalation of what could instantly become a bloody shooting war in the region, it also represents a significant technological loss, depending on how intact the aircraft's components were when they struck the ground. The systems onboard the RQ-4 are highly sensitive in nature and Iran and its friends Russia and China would love to get their hands on even pieces of them.

    Keep in mind, BAMS-D, like the Global Hawk and the MQ-4C to a degree, has a zero penetration mission. It doesn't fly into contested airspace. It is literally a sitting duck. The only reason it would do so would be if it was off the leash or there was a major navigational malfunction. It is far more likely Iran just shot it out of international airspace as the Pentagon states.

    U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command and the Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command... said that the unmanned aircraft was flying at "high altitude" and was 34 kilometers (approximately 21 miles) from the Iranian coast at the time of the attack and that it fell into international waters. There is no word yet on whether the U.S. miliary has recovered any part of it, but Navy ships are reportedly moving to the area, if they are not there already.

    Iran's state-run media says the system used to shoot down the aircraft was the Raad (Thunder) air defense system. It is a road-mobile, medium-range SAM system loosely analogous to Russia's SA-11 Buk. It has the ability to shoot down aircraft flying at medium to high altitudes.


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    Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_MQ-4C_Triton

    The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is an American high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) under development for the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft. In tandem with its associated ground control station, it is considered an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program, the system is intended to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions, continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions, and to complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.[3][4][5] Triton builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk; changes include reinforcements to the air frame and wing, de-icing systems, and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The current sensor suites allow ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location, and classification.[6]

    First flight: 22 May 2013
    Introduction: May 2018
    Number built: 68 (planned) + 2 prototypes
    Unit cost:
    US$120.689m (FY15)
    US$182.378m (inc R&D)

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