Oil tanker attacks: Blasts from the past

Oil tanker attacks: Blasts from the past

The Persian Gulf, the world’s energy artery, is once again teetering on the brink of conflict. US-Iran tensions are rising after the latter allegedly attacked oil tankers in a region through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil passes.

Both Iran and the US have so far used a range of weapons spanning three generations of warfare-limpet mines, surface-to-air missiles and cyber weapons. Iran is thought to be behind the limpet mine attacks in two phases that damaged six merchant ships sailing in the Gulf of Oman.

On May 12, four merchant ships flying the UAE, Saudi Arabian and Norwegian flags were attacked. In the second attack on June 13, Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-flagged Front Altair were targeted, once again using limpet mines.

The strikes were remarkable for the carefully-calibrated damage they inflicted. In the attacks on May 12, the limpets were placed near the waterline of the ships-so the merchantmen were crippled but did not sink. Read More

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