Explosion rocks Japanese oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

TEHRAN, July 28 (MNA) -- An explosion damaged a Japanese oil tanker on Wednesday as it exited the Persian Gulf and was passing through Omani waters in the western part of the Strait of Hormuz.

The Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said the blast on its tanker M. Star caused one minor injury but did not cause an oil leak, AP reported.

Mitsui stated that the explosion at the back of the ship was believed to be caused by “a suspected attack from the outside.”

Mitsui spokeswoman Eiko Mizuno said a crew member noticed a flash of light right before the explosion, raising the possibility of an attack.

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism issued a statement saying that the tanker was carrying 270,000 tons of oil and was heading toward Japan's Chiba Port near Tokyo from Das Island in the United Arab Emirates.

The explosion that damaged the Japanese oil tanker occurred at 2:30 a.m. local time in waters off the coast of Oman, Mohammad Hakimi of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) told the Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.

“In our contact with Oman, (the Omani officials) stated that they were conducting a rescue operation… and that there was no need for assistance form Iran,” he added.

PMO officials ruled out the possibility of an attack, saying that massive shuddering on the main deck of the tanker might have caused the explosion.

However, the UAE’s official news agency WAM quoted an official at the Port of Fujairah as saying the explosion was caused by a large wave caused by an earthquake.

The Strait of Hormuz is a transit point for about 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil shipments.

HJ/HG
END
MNA

News Code 41031

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