UPDATED: Two tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman

epa07645178 A handout photo made available by Iran's official state TV (IRIB) allegedly shows the crude oil tanker Front Altair on fire in the Gulf of Oman, 13 June 2019. According to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the Front Altair is currently on fire in the Gulf of Oman after allegedly being attacked and in the early morning of 13 June between the UAE and Iran. EPA-EFE/IRIB NEWS HANDOUT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. MANDATORY CREDIT. HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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Two tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crew have been evacuated, shipping sources said on Thursday, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

Sources identified the tankers as the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous.

The Front Altair, operated by Norwegian shipping company Frontline, is the one hit by a torpedo, shipping news site Tradewinds reported citing industry sources.

Kokuka Courageous, another vessel underway in the Strait of Hormuz, was damaged following an “incident on board”, BSM Ship Management – the vessel manager – said on its website on Thursday.

The company further said a crewmember had been lightly injured in the incident and the rest of the crew abandoned ship.

The ship suffered damages to its hull starboard side.

As for the Front Attair, reports say the vessel is on fire and even in danger of sinking.

Oil prices surged by 4% after the report that raises tensions in the Gulf, which have been heightened by a dispute between Iran and the United States.

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer is responding to two distress calls amidst reports oil tankers that have come under attack in the Gulf of Oman.

USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) is providing assistance to ships that had called U.S. 5th Fleet for help, spokesperson Cmdr. Joshua Frey

EARLIER: A British maritime safety group warned that there had been an “unspecified incident” in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is run by the British navy, put out the alert early on Thursday. It did not elaborate but said Britain and its partners are investigating. The group urged “extreme caution”.

Iran’s Al Alam television station reported that two large oil tankers came under attack as a result of “successive explosions”, without offering evidence. Reports about an attack remain unconfirmed.

Thursday’s maritime alert comes after what the US has described as Iranian attacks on four oil tankers nearby, off the coast of the UAE, in May. Iran has denied being involved.

Via Jerusalem Post/ The Gulf News/ UKMTO/Tradewinds/Reuters

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