Two oil tankers are reported to have been attacked in the Strait of Hormuz, heightening tensions between Iran and neighbours, and raising the spectre of an escalation of hostilities between Iran and the United States. According to Associated Press, one of the ships was ablaze and adrift, although the crews of both vessels had apparently been safely evacuated.

An emergency response from BSM Ship Management, owners of one of the two tanker companies read as follows:

“BSM Ship Management (Singapore) has launched a full-scale emergency response following a security incident on board our managed products carrier the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman earlier today (June 13, 2019).

The 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side. The master and crew abandoned ship and were quickly rescued from a lifeboat by the vessel Coastal Ace, a nearby vessel. One crew man from the Kokuka Courageous was slightly injured in the incident and is receiving first aid on board the Coastal Ace.

The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking. The cargo of methanol is intact. BSM’s top priority is the wellbeing of the 21 crew on board our managed vessel. The Coastal Ace is in the vicinity at a safe distance from the Kokuka Courageous. The vessel is about 70 nautical miles from Fujairah and about 14 nautical miles from the coast of Iran.”

In response, Brent crude was up over two dollars at $61.96 as of 10.42 on 13 June. In a statement, the US navy said that it was responding to an incident in the area.

So far no comment has been made on the attack by the Iranian state broadcaster, Fars News.

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