Dubai: A Japanese oil tanker was damaged
by an explosion while exiting the Straits of Hormuz, with the
ship's owners claiming that the vessel was attacked, but the
incident did not affect traffic in the vital Gulf.
The explosion came as a surprise to authorities as the
Persian Gulf has so far not been affected by Somali pirates,
who operate in the nearby Red Sea.
The US navy's fifth fleet said the Straits of Hormuz,
through which 40 per cent of the world's oil passes, has
remained open for safe navigation and the sea lanes were open.
The fifth fleet spokesman said the cause of the
explosion was being investigated.
The blast onboard the M-Star supertanker happened
shortly after midnight and the ship's owners Mitsui O.s.k.
Lines said a life boat was blown off the giant ship and there
was damage on the starboard side.
The US navy had offered to help the tanker, but the
crew said that they had rectified the damage, and it was
sailing on its own steam.
The Straits of Hormuz is less than 100 kms wide and
separates Oman from Iran.
First Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 18:44