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Gulf of Hormuz: Japanese Tanker Damaged

July 28th, 2010 Take your pick on an explanation at this point.
Via: Bloomberg:
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s second-largest oil-tanker fleet, said one of its ships may have been attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, deemed by the U.S. to be the most important chokepoint for oil supply.
An explosion, which “may have been caused by an external attack,” occurred at 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time, injuring one of the crew, Mitsui said in a statement. The vessel, M. Star, was on its way to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to assess the damage and no oil is leaking, Mitsui said. The tanker was damaged by rough seas, the official U.A.E. news agency WAM reported, citing Musa Murad, director of the Port of Fujairah.
M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion

29 07 2010 Tanker Incident Raises Concerns About Oil Transit Through Persian Gulf

Thursday, July 29, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor
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In this photo released by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), damage is seen on the side of the M. Star supertanker as it arrives at Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Emirates News Agency)
( – Mystery surrounds an incident in which a laden oil tanker was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday. Maritime and shipping officials are at odds over whether the cause was an intentional explosion or a freak wave caused by seismic activity. Whatever turns out to be the case, the incident again highlights the vulnerability of the world’s most important energy waterway, one which Iran has periodically threatened to block, in retaliation for international pressure over its nuclear program.
Up to 40 percent of the world’s daily oil supply – including three-quarters of Japan’s needs – traverses the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz chokepoint en route to markets in the West and Asia. Situated between Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the channel is less than 30 miles across at its narrowest point.
The 160,000-ton M. Star, a Japanese-owned, Marshall islands-flagged supertanker, was anchored off Fujairah in the UAE on Thursday, undergoing inspection of its damaged hull.
A photo released by the UAE’s WAM news agency showed a large, square-shaped dent in the vessel’s hull, near the waterline.
The unexplained incident in Omani waters early Wednesday morning was first described by the owners, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), as “an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources.” The statement that prompted speculation that pirates, terrorists or a military force may have been responsible.
MOL said one of the crew was lightly injured, but none of the 270,200 tons of crude oil taken onboard in the UAE the previous day had leaked from the damaged hull.
The “explosion” theory appeared to be backed up by a statement from the Japanese transportation ministry, which said one of the 31-member crew reported seeing “a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.”
But maritime officials in the UAE, Iran and Oman said that the M. Star had been hit by a large wave.
A UAE port captain was quoted as telling local media the wave was “a result of seismic shock” while an Iranian official cited an “earthquake.” One report cited the Omani coastguard as saying the wave was triggered by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide and lists all events 2.5 magnitude and bigger, has no report of any quake in that region in recent days. The most recent quake in the region was a 4.8 magnitude tremor on Saturday, July 24, in southern Iran.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also has had no tsunami warnings in the entire Indian Ocean region since June 12.
Prof. Mike Sandiford, earthquake expert and director the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said Thursday there was “zero chance” of a wave being caused by a quake four days earlier. A “submarine slope failure” – an underwater landslide – could be a possibility, he said.
MOL was sticking to its guns Thursday, with an official telling a briefing in Tokyo a quake-induced wave was unlikely the cause of the incident, and that the damage suggested the ship had been hit from the outside.
A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the ship had reported by radio that an “explosion” had occurred. The Navy had offered assistance, but the ship’s master determined it was not necessary. The ship made its way to Fujairah under its own steam.
The spokesman said the M. Star incident did not affect the shipping lane.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the U.S. had no information to suggest that the event was anything other than an accident but would be “watching carefully as more information comes in on that.”
Piracy, terrorism, military action
Maritime security experts have long warned of the danger of a terrorist or pirate attack on a supertanker in one of the world’s strategic sea chokepoints, which include the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Gibraltar and the Panama and Suez canals.
Apart from the environmental impact should a tanker’s hull be intentionally or accidentally breached, the economic cost and disruption of an incident blocking a crucial waterway for a period of time would be massive.
The Strait of Hormuz is hundreds of miles away from the area where pirates have been operating in recent years – the Red Sea and mouth of the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia. (read HERE)

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Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

29 07 2010 [As you can see from the photo below, there is no obvious scorching or point of impact. Apparently, whatever hit the side of the double-hulled ship did not explode. Considering the location of the attack, it is probably a false flag incident, staged to implicate Iran.]
Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

Loveday Morris
[Image: m-star-enlarge.jpg?w=510&h=340][Image: bilde?Site=AD&Date=20100729&Category=NAT...R&MaxW=300]The damaged M. Star arrives in Fujairah to be examined.WAM
ABU DHABI // Investigators were combing a Japanese oil tanker docked in Fujairah last night after it was damaged by what its owners claimed was an explosion.
The M. Star was travelling from Al Ruwais to Japan when the blast occurred in the Strait of Hormuz early yesterday. The cause is unknown but the ship’s operator, Mitsui OSK Lines, and the Japanese transport ministry said it was “highly likely” to have been an outside attack. However, Emirati and Omani officials attributed the damage to a freak wave.
According to the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, the explosion hit the starboard side of the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel at about 4.30am yesterday. A lifeboat was blown off the ship in the blast and hatches were damaged.
Kazumi Makamura, a spokeswoman for Mitsui OSK, said the galley windows were damaged and “the bridge wing door was buckled … there is other damage we are checking. We do not know when the investigation will be completed”.
She confirmed one of the ship’s 31 crew members suffered minor injuries. As for the cause of the blast, “There is nothing that can explode in that part of the vessel,” a different company spokeswoman, Eiko Mizuno, told The Associated Press.
A crew member saw a flash of light before the explosion, indicating a possible external attack, she said.
The ship, which was loaded with 270,000 tonnes of oil, arrived in Fujairah about 5pm yesterday, and investigators boarded the tanker to assess the damage.
No oil was spilled in the incident, officials said. A port source said the company’s Britain-based insurance carrier was sending a surveyor and a weapons expert to examine the ship.
The UAE’s state news agency, WAM, cited a UAE official as saying there was no possibility the damage was caused by an attack, adding that no trace of explosives was found on its outer body structure. It said a large wave that resulted from a “seismic shock” was responsible.
There was no unusual seismic activity in the region, according to a spokesman for the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.
The Omani transport ministry also attributed the damage to a large wave. “There’s no reason to suspect foul play,” a spokesman for the ministry said. “Our information from the Omani coast guard officers, who have been at the vessel, said that it was a strong wave that caused the damage. It has already docked in Fujairah for inspection.”
Dr Mustafa Alani, the senior adviser for security and terrorism at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, said initial investigation will focus on the nature of the damage to the ship. “It’s very easy to tell if it’s an external attack or not from whether the damage is pushing inside or internal,” Dr Alani said.
He said there were three possibilities for an attack: piracy, a state-sponsored attack or terrorism, the first two of which he discounted.
“If this was piracy, it would have been followed by an attempt to hijack the ship and there are no reports of an attempt to board.”
Pirates are unlikely to travel into the highly patrolled Strait of Hormuz, where the US and other international navies are active, Dr Alani added.
Monsoons in the Gulf of Aden also make the seas too rough for pirate skiffs at this time of year. About 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important waterways.
Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said it is difficult to draw conclusions until a full investigation has been done but discounted the theory that a wave could have been responsible in the relatively sheltered waters.
Built in 2008, the M. Star is a double-hulled tanker. Single-hulled vessels have been gradually phased out since the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 that resulted in one of history’s most devastating oil spills.
* With additional reporting by Eugene Harnan, Anna Zacharias and Saleh al Shaibany
Blackwater are busy bees aren't they?
Damaged oil tanker may have hit old mine

30 07 2010 [This one describes it as an air blast near the ship, which left some powder burns and a 60cm hole four meters above the water line. After pointing-out the powder burns, the report goes on to then explain the lack of shrapnel holes by claiming the blast was not near the ship. It was a missile bearing a focused lethality DIME munition, in my opinion.]
Damaged oil tanker may have hit a mine

Anna Zacharias, Loveday Morris and Eugene Harnan
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[Image: bilde?Site=AD&Date=20100730&Category=NAT...1&MaxW=300]Investigations are going on and the owners say the blast is “highly unlikely” to have been caused by an outside attack. Paulo Vecina / The National
FUJAIRAH // Officials said yesterday they suspected a stray mine or a collision damaged a Japanese oil tanker as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
Investigators are examining the M. Star, moored about 13 nautical miles off the Port of Fujairah, whose crew reported an explosion around 4.30am on Wednesday.
Its owner, Mitsui OSK Lines, said it was “highly likely” to have been caused by an outside attack, as some of the ship’s 31 crew members saw a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.
Investigations by federal authorities, insurers and Mitsui OSK are expected to last two or three days. Damage to the ship was caused by a collision, said Capt Mousa Murad, the general manager of the Port of Fujairah.
“The cause of the collision is not clear from the dent in the ship,” he said, declining to rule out the possibility that it was struck by a mine or in a targeted attack. Windows and doors were blown out at deck-level, far above the waterline where the ship was dented. “The accommodation has been damaged, from the deck until the control room, especially aluminium doors.”
There was internal flooding in the crew’s quarters, but no water had entered from outside the ship, he said. There was one breach of the hull, a 60cm hole four metres above the waterline, under a lifeboat-storage station.
There was no oil or other pollution spilling from the damaged vessel. Manoj Mathew, the ship’s captain, said in a letter to Fujairah port’s harbour master that “the vessel is completely stable and seaworthy and proceeding safely”.
The letter said the second officer suffered minor injuries, which were treated onboard.
The ship arrived in Fujairah around 6.40pm on Wednesday. It was carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude oil from Qatar to Japan.
“What is certain is this is caused by an external force,” said Ravi Gupta, a ship repair expert for Clarkson Technical Services in Fujairah.
Mr Gupta discounted the possibility that there could have been a collision with another vessel. “This was definitely not a collision, as there is no scraping marks,” he said.
“Even if it was a submarine on the surface and the crew didn’t see it, there would be scratch marks.”
The damage to the superstructure and deck looked as though it had been caused by a strong force of air pressure, he said.
Ajit Shenoi, a professor in ship science at Southampton University in Britain, said the shattered windows and internal damage could have been caused by shockwaves from a collision. But the external damage was inconsistent with this explanation, he added.
“It looks as though an explosion in the air or water near the ship is the most likely cause,” he said. “Looking at the image of the ship, you’d expect more abrasion on the plating if it was a collision with a submarine or another ship, and there’s localised blackening on the red paint indicating an explosion.”
Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser on terrorism and security at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai, said the damage to the ship’s starboard, near the stern, appeared to match that of a floating mine. Although sea mines were designed to cause more damage, one that was 20 years old would have lost some of its potency, he said.
“They tried to clear as many as possible, but there were many thousands put down during the Iran-Iraq war,” Mr Alani said.
“It’s not a [rocket-propelled grenade]. The collapsed area, if it were an RPG, would be a round spot. There would be more blackness. It doesn’t look like there was a direct impact point, which you would see with an RPG.” The damage at the water level also indicated a mine, he added.
A UAE-based ship surveyor, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s the kind of damage you might see from a ship hitting another ship, but it would have been hard for the crew to miss another ship, and anything that left an impact like that would have left scratch marks.
“The damage is just above the water line, so it’s something that’s floating on the water.
“It’s definitely not an internal explosion. A missile or an RPG would have pierced the hull. It’s probably a low-grade or old floating mine that has exploded some distance away from the ship.”
As a cheap and easy way of blocking sea access, mines were used extensively during the first Gulf War and the Iran-Iraq war.
Minesweeping operations continue in the region. In 2008, HMS Chiddingfold, a British minesweeper, was called to the northern Gulf by the Kuwaiti and Iraqi governments to find and dispose of leftover mines for shipping routes to be opened. Most mines in the region are thought to have been disposed of, but a few areas are still classed as dangerous.
Others discounted the theory that the ship hit a mine. Richard Skinner, the managing director of Orchid Maritime, a private security firm that specialises in maritime security, said there had probably been a collision.
“If it was a mine or something in the water, it is not really consistent with an explosion from a device like that,” he said.
It was unclear what type of vessel might have struck the tanker or what its fate might be. There have been collisions in the area in the past. In January 2007, a US Navy submarine collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz damaging its stern. Prof Shenoi said it was unlikely that the M Star would have failed to pick up another vessel, or a submarine on the surface, on its radar, or vice versa.
The US Fifth Fleet said no American or coalition vessels had been operating in the area at the time. “The investigation into the cause is ongoing and we are keeping abreast of the situation,” said Lt John Fage, a spokesman for the fleet. WAM, the state news agency, quoted Emirati and Omani officials who attributed the damage to a freak wave caused by a “tremor” on Wednesday night.
However, according to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, there was no unusual seismic activity around the time of the incident. Mitsui OSK said yesterday that, based on its investigation so far, wave damage was “highly unlikely”.
“It is clearly not a natural incident because no wave could cause that type of damage,” Mr Skinner said. Mr Gupta agreed, saying: “As the damage is to the stern quarter of the ship, wave damage just to this location seems unlikely.”
* The National

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Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

30 07 2010 Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

[B][If this was a false flag incident, to provoke a conflict with Iran, then the flash of light on the horizon reported by the tanker crew (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion) could have been from a missile fired from an American or Israeli F-16, or any American plane. The photo could show evidence of a possible blast wave, without leaving behind physical evidence of missile fragments or shrapnel holes.]

[Image: m-star-color-enlarge.jpg?w=400&h=223]
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Speculation That A Submarine may have indented supertanker

30 07 2010 [The argument given below to support the idea that a sub caused this dent is that the picture shows the supertanker after unloading, implying that the dent may have been below the waterline. It appears that this tanker is still fully loaded, a similar photo below shows a loaded tanker (lower right) and the red line is still above water. If it was a submarine, it was running on the surface. It looks like it could have been a blast concussion of some type, on closer examination. If it was caused by something fired on the horizon (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion), then it would have had to have been some sort of exotic weapon that expels no shrapnel.]

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Submarine may have indented supertanker

[Image: m-star_tanker_10072_144987e.jpg] MYSTICAL: Bulken the hull is clear, but shows no obvious burn marks or signs of an explosion. The crew, however, argue that they saw a bright light and heard an explosion during the event. Photo: SHE

[Image: m-star-color-enlarge.jpg?w=510&h=284]

Still unclear how the Japanese tanker was indented on the open seas.
- It is possible that in the case of a collision with a submarine or a mine, “said Captain Mousa Mourad today – the day after a mysterious incident.He is the chief port of Fujairah in United Arab Emirates, where the tanker has been built to further investigations.
[Image: m-star_interi_r_100_144988h.jpg] Herje: Skirmish consequential tanker apparent damage even indoors. Fear of terrorism

The Japanese super tanker M. Star was on the way from Qatar to Japan through the Strait of Hormuz off Oman, with over two milllioner barrels (270,200 tons) of crude oil, when it was struck by a violent collision.
First, did the crew of the tanker that hit a huge wave, and there were reports of an earthquake in the area. The shipping company Mitsui OSK said, however, that the ship was attacked, writes Svenska Dagbladet.
It is still unclear what really happened, and the incident has created fear of terrorist attacks in the strait, where 40 percent of the world’s oil transport by sea must go through, according to BBC News.
[Image: m-star_rasert_10072_144989h.jpg] Threw AROUND: Furniture was tossed around, and the crew thought they were attacked.
Qaeda : Abdullah Azzam Brigades: The expedition of Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahmaan "Claiming responsibility for the bombing of the Japanese petroleum tanker Posted by Casey Britton on 2010/8/3 20:54:28 (187 reads) News by the same author

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In the name of God the Merciful

:: Abdullah Azzam Brigades::

[Battle of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman - the adoption of the bombing of the tanker oil in Japanese]

Almighty God saidSmile what cut of soft or left standing upon its roots, God and abase the transgressors (

Nasser believers Praise be to God, will confound the disbelievers, who promised us victory and empowerment, and make them unbelievers in the Jihad, and prayers and peace be upon the master of messengers, and the Imam of the Mujahideen, and his family and companions, but after:

In the ring blessing of a series of jihad for the sake of God, to weaken the system of international infidels, authoritarian to a Muslim country, Pillager their fortunes, and to lift oppression from the Muslims, and to return what they robbed of their right to worship God alone, and referring to the laws and the right to God's bestowed wealth their land, stolen by tyrants system disbelief World occupiers and their tails for our country; a group of your brothers the Mujahideen Brigades, Sheikh Youssef Al Ieri the Brigades of the Martyr Abdullah Azzam, to negotiate with a triumphant detailed in an important economic system of infidels worldwide, paid off as they wanted, and the additional virtue of God.

After the middle of the night last Wednesday at dawn the hero martyr (Job Taihan) - accepted by God as martyrs - the same in the Japanese petroleum tanker (M Star) in the Strait of Hormuz between the UAE and Oman, inflicted by damage Tsamat and international news agencies.

The great impact of this heroic operation in the global economy and oil prices; has discretion enemies of God, the reality of the process, and attributed them to the earthquake; and believe it has shaken A_i_hadina shook his arrival to this value target, installed for the disbelief of the World again; that the guardians of God Mujahideen bloom in front of them sealed doors closure with the help of God and infinite, and not turn without them and what they want without a security system, no work, intelligence.

This was not a blackout of the enemies of God surprising; the beaten fighters such carrier failure of the system of international infidels; they are the latest carriers and the largest, and carrying at least two million barrels of oil, and the blow of the blessed were in one of the most important areas of maritime transport in the world; Vamadiq of Hormuz is the economic artery Chairman of the system of international infidels, and the strait filled with fleets of marine of the enemy, what is most difficult to penetrate this region guarded and that Allah is with the Mujahideen) O ye who believe! If ye help Allah help you and set your feet (even if uncovered the enemies of God from the fact that the tremor suffered by the tanker is processed martyrdom; have been affected by oil prices, and the whole world knows the failure of security systems that guard against the infidels strike fighters) and thought they Manathm redoubt of God Allah gave them in terms of not missed a and cast terror into their hearts (but we like to preach about our Muslim brothers vulnerable brothers that they will not taste the rest before the cut off head of international infidels, God willing, Felictbcroa close to victory, and strike with their brothers in which the shares; it is a great reward for the door has been opened to Muslims.

The publication of the statement until we delay our heroes returned to their bases safely, praise be to Allah.

This was the invasion of the prisoner as Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a reminder of the nation was one of them - after God - the great virtue in igniting the flame of Jihad in the nation; and omen to be his ransom from captivity soon - God willing -.

We say to the Muslim nation and the people of the world who are enslaved idol contemporary international system, lifting the injustice you - Mslmkm and Ccaffrkm - which Allaah has enjoined upon us, to govern Muslims and infidels, justice; to take all with a right you right undiminished; as the law of God to him.

And, surely, We promise to God to persevere in this way) until persecution is no more and religion is all for Allah (.

) And Allah has full power over His Affairs, but most people do not know (

Abdullah Azzam Brigades

Yousef Saraya Ieri

Monday 08/21/1431 e