Two oil tankers have been attacked in the Gulf of Oman, raising tensions in the region.
The crew members of both the tankers, the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, were evacuated on Thursday, reported Al Jazeera.
"Reported attacks on Japan-related tankers occurred while PM @AbeShinzo was meeting with Ayatollah @khamenei_ir for extensive and friendly talks. Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning. Iran's proposed Regional Dialogue Forum is imperative," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
The owner firm of Kokuka Courageous, Kokuka Sangyo, has said the ship was "attacked" twice with "some sort of shell."
"21 crew members of the vessel abandoned the ship after an incident on board which resulted in damage to its hull's starboard side. The vessel was about 70 nautical miles (nearly 130km) from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and about 14 nautical miles (26km) from the coast of Iran," said Kokuka Courageous's management company, BSM Ship Management (Singapore) in a statement.
"The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking. The cargo of methanol is intact," the statement said. One crew member was injured during the incident and was receiving medical treatment on another vessel nearby, it added.
Front Altair, meanwhile, had been chartered by Taiwan's state oil refiner CBC Corp and was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, when it was "suspected of being hit by a torpedo" around noon Taiwan time
"The attack on two oil tankers on June 13 was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks over the last month. It was a clear threat to peace, security and freedom of navigation," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a media briefing.
"The US will defend its force, interests, partners and allies. We call upon all nations threatened to join us in that endeavour," he added.
"I would use this opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, from any attempts to impose responsibility on those who are seen as undesirable," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters after a meeting of the State Duma's international affairs committee, RIA-Novosti reported.
France termed the attack as the "disturbing incident"
"We have learned that a disturbing incident involving two tankers in the Arabian Sea has occurred today, in the broader context of rising tensions in the region, as evidenced also by the attack on the [Abha airport] in Saudi Arabia yesterday, which we firmly condemned," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told CNN.
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