Two oil tankers located in the Gulf of Oman had to call for help after an apparent attack left one vessel in flames. The U.S. Navy has sent ships to help with the evacuation of both vessels located off the coast of Iran.
Sailors from the Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair were rescued, but the details of how are unclear. Iran's state news agency said Iranian search and rescue teams had picked up 21 sailors aboard the vessels and brought them to the Iranian port of Jask.
"We are aware of the reported attack on shipping vessels in the Gulf of Oman," the Navy's 5th Fleet said in a statement Thursday morning. "U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local (Bahrain) time and a second one at 7:00 a.m. U.S. Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance."
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) Singapore, which owns the Kokuka Courageous, issued a statement saying they company had launched an emergency response after a "security incident" involving one of their vessels.
"The master and crew abandoned ship and were quickly rescued from a lifeboat by the vessel ME Coastal Ace, a nearby vessel," the statement read. "One seafarer from the MT Kokuka Courageous was mildly injured in the incident and has been administered first aid on board the ME Coastal Ace."
BSM said the ship remained in the area and was not in any danger of sinking. It's cargo of methanol is also intact. The Kokuka Courageous was stranded 16 miles off the coast of Iran and about 80 miles from United Arab Emirates.
The second vessel, the Front Altair, caught on fire, according to that ship's owner, Frontline shipping of Norway. Wu I-Fang, CPC's petrochemical business division CEO, told Reuters news agency that the ship was "suspected of being hit by a torpedo."
The attack on Thursday is the second one in the last month. In May, Saudi Arabia said four oil tankers had been sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, causing significant damage to the vessels. One of those ships was bound for Saudi Arabia to pick up oil to take back to the United States.
The news pushed the price of oil more than $3 higher, with the benchmark Brent crude price going up to over $62 a barrel.