Damaged tanker arrives at UAE anchorage amid increased regional tensions

Damaged tanker arrives at UAE anchorage amid increased regional tensions

A damaged Japanese tanker arrived Sunday at a UAE anchorage site after it was rocked by explosions in Gulf waters as Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being behind the attack.

The Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman on Thursday when it came under attack along with the Norwegian-operated Front Altair — the second assault in a month in the strategic shipping lane.

US President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it” — rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial — and Saudi Arabia has also lashed out against Tehran.

In his first public comments since the attacks, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday he “won’t hesitate” to tackle any threats to the oil-rich kingdom.

“We do not want a war in the region… But we won’t hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests,” he told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

“The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his (diplomatic) efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese.”

The US military on Friday released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from one of the tankers.

“Kokuka Courageous has arrived safely at the designated anchorage at Sharjah,” the vessel’s Singapore-based BSM Ship Management said in a statement Sunday.

The crew, who remained on board, were “safe and well”, it said.

A damage assessment and preparations for transferring the ship’s cargo would start “once the port authorities have completed their standard security checks and formalities”, it added.

BSM Ship Management had said earlier Kokuka Courageous was heading towards the Kalba anchorage on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates, facing the Gulf of Oman.