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Oil Tanker Owner: It Didn't Happen That Way

Owner of the Kokuka Courageous is deeply skeptical that mines were involved
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2019 12:00 PM CDT
An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019.   (AP Photo/ISNA)

(Newser) – The owner of an oil tanker attacked near the Strait of Hormuz is pushing back against the US version of events, NBC News reports. The president of the company that owns the Kokuka Courageous, one of two tankers targeted Thursday in a politically charged incident, says the Japanese vessel was almost certainly hit by something above water level. "We received reports that something flew towards the ship," says Yutaka Katada, head of Kokaku Sangyo Co. "The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship."

That appears to contradict video released by the US military showing Iranian forces taking an unexploded mine off one of the two tankers, per CBS News. Katada went so far as to call a reported mine attack "false," but did say crew members saw a nearby Iranian naval ship at some point during the attack. He also said there were two strikes, one near the engine room and another on the starboard side close to the rear. Washington is yet to respond, and owners of the other tanker, Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair, haven't said what hit their vessel. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attacks, and Iran has denied it. (Iran just released a US resident it had held for four years.)

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