Oil tanker captain disputes part of US account of attack

Source: The Hill | June 14, 2019 | Chris Mills Rodrigo

The captain of one of the oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday disputed part of the United States’ account of the attack on Friday.

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, the president of ship operator Kokuka Sangyo.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for the attacks in the Gulf of Oman on the Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair.

The U.S. military released a video later Thursday that it says shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing a mine from a targeted oil tanker. 

Katada, citing accounts from the ship’s crew, said: “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” according to The New York Times.

Iran on Friday pushed back on U.S. claims about Tehran’s role in the attacks, calling the accusation “the simplest and the most convenient way for Pompeo and other U.S. officials.”

The attack comes weeks after alleged sabotage attacks against four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The United States similarly blamed those attacks on Iran, pointing to limpet mines that officials said were Iranian.

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