Iran reject allegations of oil tanker attacks

Iran reject allegations of oil tanker attacks

Written by Staff Writer

14 Jun, 2019 | 9:10 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):  The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit kicked off in Kyrgyzstan today (June 14). Heads of states of countries such as China, Russia, India and Pakistan will be attending the summit.

The summit held in Bishkek the capital of Kyrgyzstan is aimed at bolstering regional economic, and security cooperation. During the summit discussions will be held between Russian President Vladamir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jin Ping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The main objective of the summit is to improve collaboration to strengthen the economic and security situation of the region. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed in 1996, with China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan as the founding members. India and Pakistan joined the organization in 2017. The organization mainly focuses on economic and security issues in the region.

While the regional leaders gathered at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, two oil tankers were significantly damaged in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman. The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous with 23 crew members aboard and Norway’s Front Altair with 23 crew were abandoned after the blasts. Kokuka Courageous loaded with a cargo of Methanol in Saudi Arabia was en route to Singapore.

Front Altair, chartered by Taiwan’s state-owned CPC Corp, was scheduled to carry a cargo of Naptha, a petrochemical feedstock, from the Persian Gulf to Japan. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attacks, but they occurred against the backdrop of heightened tension in the Middle East and between the U.S. and Iran.

The Iranian leadership has repeatedly threatened to block traffic in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The crew aboard one of the ships, the Front Altair, were initially picked up by a nearby ship, but were transferred to an Iranian rescue vessel and brought to a port in southern Iran.

The crew aboard the other ship, the Kokuka Courageous, were brought aboard the U.S.S. Bainbridge. The United States blamed Iran for attacks & Iran categorically rejected the U.S. unfounded claim. The suspected attack in one of the world’s busiest oil routes comes a month after four oil tankers were attacked off the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf of Oman lies at one end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz – a vital shipping lane through which hundreds of millions of dollars of oil pass.

The US dispatched guided-missile destroyer, USS Mason, to join the destroyer USS Bainbridge from the US 5th Fleet, on a station near the Kokuka Courageous. The U.S. military released a video which it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from the side of one of the two oil tankers attacked earlier in the day. One significant location on this Gulf is the China-funded Gwada Port of Pakistan which is a key point in the Belt Road Initiative.

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