Video: Limpet mines and not torpedoes likely behind tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman

Powerpoint slide provided by US Central Command shows damage from an explosion, left, and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Photo: US Navy

Limpet mines were likely used in the June 13 attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the US Navy said providing images and videos as proof.

This is in contrast to initial reports that said one of the tankers, the 110,000 dwt Front Altair, had been torpedoed.

The navy said its forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 am local time from Front Altair and a second one at 7 am local time from the tanker Kokuka Courageous.

Both vessels were in international waters in the Gulf of Oman approximately 10 nautical miles apart at the time of the distress calls. US Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge was approximately 40 nautical miles away from the Front Altair at the time of the attack, and immediately began closing the distance.

At 8:09 am local time a US aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the Front Altair.

The navy added that an hour later, a US aircraft observed the FAC/FIAC pull a raft from the Front Altair from the water.

At 9:26 am local time the Iranians requested that the motor vessel Hyundai Dubai, which had rescued the sailors from the Front Altair, to turn the crew over to the Iranian FIACs. The motor vessel Hyundai Dubai complied with the request and transferred the crew of the Front Altair to the Iranian FIACs.

While the Hendijan patrol boat appeared to attempt to get to the tug Coastal Ace before USS Bainbridge, the mariners were rescued by USS Bainbridge at the request of the master of the M/T Kokuka Courageous. The rescued sailors are currently aboard USS Bainbridge.

At 4:10 pm local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the vessel.

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