Blast Damages Japanese Tanker Near Iran, Oman

Blast Damages Japanese Tanker Near Iran, Oman
# 28 July 2010 20:48 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Japanese officials are trying to determine what caused an explosion on an oil tanker as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, APA reports quoting website.

Japan’s transport ministry said Wednesday that the M. Star was carrying about two million barrels of crude oil from the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba when it was rocked by an explosion.

The United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in the Gulf state of Bahrain, said Wednesday the cause of the blast was unknown.
But the ship’s owner claimed the explosion was likely the result of an attack. Crew members on the tanker said one person on board saw a flash of light on the horizon just before the explosion.
Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said the explosion blasted a lifeboat off the ship and damaged some of the starboard hatches. It said one crew member suffered minor injuries, and that the tanker is on its way to the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to check for damage.
Despite the blast, the company said the ship’s tanks did not rupture and that no oil is leaking.
Japan’s transport ministry has said the cause of the explosion is not clear. It said the area is not known for commercial piracy.

Meanwhile, port officials in the UAE blamed the damage on a large wave that slammed into the tanker after an earthquake hit the region. Iranian officials say an earthquake hit the region early Wednesday and that other ships reported high waves as a result.

The United States Geological Survey, which monitors earthquake activity around the world, said on its website that the last quake was a magnitude 4.8 quake on Saturday.
Officials said the Strait of Hormuz remains open for shipping.
About 40 percent of all oil shipped by tankers passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The waterway, near Iran and
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