Japanese Owner of Tanker Contradicts Claims That Mines or Torpedoes Damaged His Ship

Saturday, June 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Steve Byas
Saturday, 15 June 2019

Yutaka Katada (shown), owner of the damaged Kokuka Courageous, said that his oil tanker could not have been struck by either mines or torpedoes, since the only damage was above the water-line.

Two different oil tankers were attacked Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz (the only water passage from the Persian Gulf to the Arabia Sea, which carries 20 percent of the world’s crude oil through the narrow 21-mile channel), leading to charges by the United States government that the Iranian government had launched the attacks using mines — a charge flatly denied by Iran.

The damage to the two tankers — one owned by a Japanese company, the other owned by a Norwegian company — was above the water-line. As a mine would not be floating in air above the water-line, and any torpedo would also strike a target below the water-line, the cause of the damaged vessels was still disputed as of Friday.

The owners of the Norwegian oil tanker offered no public statement as to the cause of the damage to its vessel, but the owner of the Japanese tanker, Kokuka Courageous, specifically discounted the possibility that his ship was struck by either mines or torpedoes, noting the only damage was above the water-line.

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