Trump administration providing ‘false’ information about Gulf of Oman attack, says Japanese tanker owner
The owner of the Japanese tanker attacked on Thursday said US reports have provided “false” information about what happened in the Gulf of Oman.
The ship operator said “flying objects” that may have been bullets were the cause of damage to the vessel, rather than mines used by Iranian forces, as the US has suggested.
Yutaka Katada, chief executive of the Japanese company operating the ship called Kokuka Courageous, one of two vessels attacked near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, said the damage could not have been caused by mines or torpedos that are shot underwater, since the damage was reportedly above the ship’s waterline.
“It seems that something flew towards them. That created the hole, is the report I’ve received,” Mr Katada said at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, the Financial Times reported. Mr Katada also described reports of a mine attack as "false" according to several outlets in attendance at the press conference.
Donald Trump’s administration has meanwhile insisted the attacks were carried out by Iran, which has denied having any involvement in either of the two incidents.
The US released video shortly after that it said showed Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials removing what was likely an unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous. The US also said the ship was abandoned after an “initial explosion.”
The White House has singled out the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in recent months under Mr Trump, taking the rare step of classifying a foreign government entity as a terror group.
The Kokuka Courageous and another Norwegian-operated vessel were ablaze for hours in the Gulf on Thursday. The owner's of the other vessel, the Front Altair, have not yet provided an explanation of what they believe to be the cause of the damage.
The entire 21-person crew evacuated the Kokuka Courageous. Sailors reported seeing the “flying objects” from the vessel before the incident occurred, according to Mr Katada.