DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Sailors involved with moving fuel oil by an Iraqi tanker from the Persian Gulf to another vessel owned by a delivery company traded at the U.S. found a”suspicious object” they fear might become a mine, police said Thursday.
The discovery comes amid increased tensions between Iran along the U.S. in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s government.
Already, America has run B-52 bomber flyovers and delivered a nuclear submarine to the Persian Gulf over what Trump officials describe as the chance of an Iranian assault on the yearlong anniversary of the U.S. drone attack in Baghdad that killed a leading Iranian general.
Two private security companies said sailors worried they discovered a limpet mine to the MT Pola, a Liberian-flagged tanker which was getting aid Thursday from the Persian Gulf away Basra. A limpet mine is a sort of naval mine that attaches to the side of a boat, usually with a diver-member of particular forces. It afterward explodes, and may significantly damage a boat.
Both companies, Ambrey Intelligence and Dryad Global, state investigations are continuing.
The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, a company under Britain’s royal navy, stated on its website an”unidentified object” was attached to a boat’s hull in the neighborhood of Iraq’s Khor Al-Zubair Port, without supplying additional info.
Iraqi officials didn’t immediately comment on the episode.
The Pola, combined with another tanker, functions as floating gas petroleum storage of Iraq’s State Organization of Marketing of Oil, stated Sudharsan Sarathy, a senior oil analyst in the data-analysis company Refinitiv. Smaller vessels transmit the gas oil into the boat, which conducts ship-to-ship transports from the Persian Gulf to customers.
Sarathy said the Pola was running a ship-to-ship transfer together with all the MT Nordic Freedom, a Bermuda-flagged tanker. Dryad Global published a satellite photograph it said revealed the Pola and the Freedom.
The proprietors of this Freedom, the firm Native American Tankers, couldn’t be immediately reached.
Iran denies being included.
The positioning of this tanker involved in Thursday’s episode sits just offshore in the border of Iraq and Iran close to the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers at the Shatt al-Arab.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter before Thursday criticized Trump for squandering”billions to fly B52s & send armadas into OUR region.”
“Intelligence out of Iraq indicate storyline to FABRICATE pretext for war,” Zarif composed, without elaborating. “Iran does not seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY shield its people, safety & critical interests”
The attack at the Yusifiyah district south of the capital, Baghdad, caused minor damage and temporarily halted the convoy until it continued on its way, both officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.
The attack was the most up-to-date in a string of recent attacks targeting trucks hauling logistical support to coalition bases in Iraq. No casualties are reported from the strikes.