Dubai: Two oil tankers were attacked today in the Gulf of Oman leading to an escalation of tensions between the US and Iran and also shooting up the oil price by 4%.
The Norwegian-owned Front Altair was abandoned in the Gulf of Oman when it was struck by a magnetic mine. The crew, however, were rescued and handed over to an Iranian rescue boat.
The second ship was a Japanese owned tanker and is said to have been struck by a torpedo. The crew of the tanker were also rescued similarly and taken to safety.
US Navy Fifth Fleet assisted the tankers after it received distress calls from the tankers.
What makes these attacks serious from a geo-political situation is the fact that it occurred near the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial space where 30% of the world’s crude oil passes through. It connects the supply of oil from Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries.
Tensions in the region could block the oil supply to the entire Western countries. Earlier, Washington had accused Iran of being behind a similar attack on four oil tankers on 12 May.
Russia had come in support of Iran and asked the US to remain cautious and not to rush into conclusions. Tehran flatly denied the US accusations that it was behind the attack.
These continued attacks could throw the whole region into a tense situation. Tensions have been high between the US and Iran when the United States had pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to stall the Iranian nuclear program.
To complicate the matters Donald Trump had designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the entire military of Iran, as a terrorist organization.
Britain said it is deeply concerned about the attacks while Germany said the situation is dangerous and asked all sides to avoid an escalation. Oman and the United Arab Emirates have not issued any public statement regarding the attacks.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE both majority Sunni countries and the bitter rivals of the Shia dominated Iran have previously said that attacks on oil tankers could pose a huge risk to global oil supplies and regional security.