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Tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman to be inspected off the coast of the United Arab Emirates
The two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran are being assessed off the coast off the United Arab Emirates before their cargos are unloaded, the ships' operators said on Sunday.
Damage assessment on Japan's Kokuka Courageous and preparation for ship-to-ship transfer of its methanol cargo would start after authorities in Sharjah, one of the UAE's seven emirates, complete security checks, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said.
Thursday's attacks, which also hit Norwegian tanker Front Altair, have heightened tensions between Iran and the United States and its Gulf allies after similar blasts in May struck four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE.
In a show of military strength, the Royal Saudi Air Force flew in joint formation with U.S. F-15 fighter jets over the Gulf Arab region, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Sunday.
Foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday Britain was "almost certain" Iran was behind attacks, adding that London did not believe anyone else could have done it.
FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman, in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019. ISNA/Handout via REUTERS
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for global oil supplies.
The Front Altair is sitting off the coast of Sharjah's Khorfakkan port while the Kokuka Courageous is anchored closer to shore off the emirate's Kalba port, according to Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data.
"Our crew remain on board the Kokuka Courageous. They are safe and well," Bernhard Schulte said in a statement.
The Kokuka Courageous's 21 crew members were returned to the vessel by the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet after being rescued.
The crew of the Front Altair, who had been picked up by Iranian boats, departed Iran from Bandar Abbas airport to Dubai International Airport on Saturday, the ship's operator Frontline said.
A specialist team will inspect the Front Altair before deciding on how to unload its naphtha cargo. The ship is now being towed toward the offshore part of Fujairah emirate, the company said.
Finger pointed at Iran
It was not clear who would take part in assessing the tankers. After the May 12 attacks, in which a Norwegian-registered tanker was also hit, the UAE launched an investigation in cooperation with the United States, Saudi Arabia, Norway and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi.
FILE PHOTO: A picture of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two that were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, is displayed during a news conference by the ship owner Kokuka Sangyo Ltd. at the company office in Tokyo, Japan June 13, 2019, in in this photo released by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS
The UAE has said the probe shows that a state actor was behind last month's operation, without naming a country, and that naval mines were most likely used.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have directly blamed Iran for the attacks on the six vessels. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday urged the international community to take a "decisive stand" but said Riyadh does not want a war.
The attacks have raised fears of broader confrontation in the region where the United States has boosted its military presence over perceived Iranian threats.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran heightened after the United States last year quit a 2015 international nuclear pact with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in several proxy wars in the Middle East, including in Yemen where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement has claimed drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia last month and a missile attack which hit a civilian airport in the south of the kingdom last week.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
Russia established an air base in the Syrian city where withdrawing US troops were pelted with potatoes
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV channel said on Friday.
On Thursday, Zvezda said Russia had set up a helicopter base at an airport in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, a move designed to increase Moscow's control over events on the ground there.
Qamishli is the same city where Syrian citizens pelted U.S. troops and armored vehicles with potatoes after President Donald Trump vowed to pull U.S. troops from Syria.
An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.