Roughly one month after the US accused Iran of attacking Saudi- and UAE-docked oil tankers with naval mines in the Strait of Hormuz, two oil tankers were attacked in the Sea of Oman (not far from where the prior attacks occurred), leaving both ships seriously damaged, Bloomberg reports.
So far, no casualties have been reported. The attack left one of the ships "ablaze and adrift," according to the Associated Press.
The Front Altair, the Marshall Islands flag tanker damaged in Thursday's attacks, has now sunk, according to Iranian television. Later, others denied these reports.
If accurate, the sinking could have a serious impact on oil prices and the environment, as the ship contained twice the amount of oil as Exxon-Valdez.
And just like that... war with Iran is now almost assured.
Reported attacks on Japan-related tankers occurred while PM @AbeShinzo was meeting with Ayatollah @khamenei_ir for extensive and friendly talks.
Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.
Iran's proposed Regional Dialogue Forum is imperative.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 13, 2019
And as one BBG analyst pointed out: "Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn't responsible, it will still suffer the consequences."
Several American warships were nearby when the attack unfolded, per radio traffic, which also showed some signs of tensions with Iranian vessels: "American warship identifying itself as 'Coalition Warship' stating they have multiple vessels and aircraft in the vicinity. Iranian Navy calling vessels asking their intention in the area."
Meanwhile, the first reported photos of the deck of the Front Altair have surfaced online... and it certainly looks like the ship was hit by a torpedo-like projectile.
While some sources cited torpedoes as the weapons used in the attacks, another said officials suspected the use of a magnetic mine, similar to the devices used during last month's attacks.