Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 13 June 2019: Refinitiv Oil Research received reports of a suspected attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, about 56 NM East of Fujairah. This was later confirmed through various sources including the managers of the vessels in question.
The two tankers are identified as the “FRONT ALTAIR” managed by Frontline and the “KOKUKA COURAGEOUS” managed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.
Timeline of Events as it occurred based on Vessel Tracking Data:
The vessel Front Altair loaded 75,000 MT of Naphtha from the Takreer Refinery Terminal in Ruwais, UAE and departed the port 19:30 GMT on 11th June. After crossing the Strait of Hormuz at around 21:00 GMT on 12th June, Refinitiv Oil Research data shows the vessel to have taken a sharp deviation from its course at 02:47 GMT on 13th June with the speed dropping from 13.5 knots to eventually drifting at mid-sea.
At the same time (02:47 GMT), the vessel “HYUNDAI DUBAI” managed by Rickmers Shipmanagement GMBH was 6.8 NM away from Front Altair and can be seen making a sharp course correction towards the ship, most likely on receiving the distress alert. Vessel tracks show the Hyundai Dubai to have stopped near Front Altair between 03:30 – 03:50 GMT, possibly to pick up the crew who abandoned the vessel following the fire that was reportedly due to a surface missile.
The Hyundai Dubai then moved away from the Front Altair by about 5 NM where it seems to have handed over the rescued crew members to Iran. Frontline has confirmed that its oil tanker was on fire after this incident and await further update on the same.
The vessel Kokuka Courageous carried out a two port loads in Mesaieed, Qatar and Jubail, Saudi Arabia, bound towards Singapore, carrying Methanol. The 27K MT DWT tanker departed Jubail at 07:00 GMT on 10th June and crossed the Strait of Hormuz at 21:00 GMT on 12th June. This vessel also seem to have been under attack around the same time and was seen stopped at 06:20 GMT on 13th June, about 80 NM East of Fujairah.
The ship’s managers – Bernhard Schulte has released an official statement that there has been a breach of the hull above the water line on the Starboard side as a result of a suspected attack. The crew of this vessel has been reported to have been picked up by the service vessel “COASTAL ACE”. It has been reported by the Japanese shipping company – KOKUKA SANGYO President, that its ship was hit twice over a three hour period. Reports following the attack are still awaited to be confirmed.