Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, causing extensive damage and fire and also raising a political storm over the identity of the attackers.
According to Oman General TV, the two vessels sent out a distress call after being attacked, when a vessel belonging to the US Fifth Fleet and another Iranian vessel complied with the request and headed to offer assistance.
“Iranian Authorities announced that they had rescued 44 crew members and transported them to the Iranian port of Gasak,” Oman General TV said.
The incident sparked a round of global reactions, with many calling for restraint to avoid escalation of tensions in the region and to maintain respect for maritime navigation. The United States said that it was continuously assessing the situation after reviewing reports of the attack on the two ships.
Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, stressed the importance of identifying those who were behind the attack. “We condemn in the strongest terms, the attack on the oil tankers and warn that the world will not be able to withstand a major confrontation in the region,” he said.
The British Government expressed deep concern, noting that the United Kingdom was in constant communication with its regional partners to find out more details of the attack. The European Union Foreign Minister called on all parties to show restraint.
Reactions also poured in from France and Germany who warned of the repercussions of increasing tensions in the region. Russia said that the political repercussions of the attack needed to be examined and called for not blaming anyone for the attack before details are confirmed.
The Iranian government described the incident as ‘suspicious’ and called for discussion to avoid confrontation.