As the drums of war continue to beat off the coast of Iran, the emerging story of a sophisticated oil tanker attack has taken another hit.
Iran has been at the forefront of Middle Eastern tensions over the course of the last few months, after the United States rescinded its “nuclear deal” with the nation – a move that has exacerbated the already heavy sanctions being levied against them. In typical rabble-rousing fashion, instead of curbing their bad behavior in order to get back into the good graces of the international community, Tehran has instead lashed out, attacking the sensitive oil infrastructure in the region for attention.
This week’s explosive attacks on Japanese oil tanker have been attributed to Iran by the international community, and were believed to be conducted using magnetic mines attached to the hulls of these ships.
Now, one tanker owner is rebuking this narrative, declaring that his ship was struck by airborne attacks and not by a magnetic mine.
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The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, said Friday that sailors on board saw “flying objects” just before it was hit, suggesting the vessel wasn’t damaged by mines.
That account contradicts what the U.S. military said as it released a video Friday it said shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the two ships that were hit.
The Kokuka Courageous’ parent company downplayed the conflicting reports.
Company president Yutaka Katada said Friday he believes the flying objects seen by the sailors could have been bullets. He denied any possibility of mines or torpedoes because the damage was above the ship’s waterline. He called reports of a mine attack “false.”
Katada said the crew members also spotted an Iranian naval ship nearby, but didn’t specify whether that was before or after the attacks.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing at this time.
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