Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Owner of tanker attacked in Gulf of Oman blames 'flying objects,' contradicting US claims that Iran planted mines
The owner of one of the two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman said the crew saw "flying objects" just before the ship was hit, seeming to contract a narrative from the U.S. government suggesting mines were involved.
Yutaka Katada, the chief executive of Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo, discussed the incident with reporters in Tokyo on Friday.
He said sailors on the Kokuka Courageous saw the objects above the water, and suggested they could be bullets, The Associated Press reported.
This seems to contradict the account given by the U.S. military, which said it saw what it suspects is an unexploded limpet mine on the side of the ship.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released photos of the "likely limpet mine" on the side of the Kokuka Courageous, noticed by the USS Bainbridge, a US warship deployed in the area that came to rescue crew.
In this Powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage from an explosion, left, and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019, as the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96)(U.S. Navy/U.S. Central Command)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks on the two ships on Thursday, accusing it of trying to drive up global oil prices.
"These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world," he said.
He called the attacks an "unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran." Iran has denied any involvement, and accused the U.S. of leading an "Iranophobic campaign" against it.
Pompeo said that the U.S.'s conclusions were "based on the level of expertise for the execution, and recent attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication."
The U.S. military's Central Command also shared a video that it says shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from the ship
The U.S. Central Command on June 13 said the video shows crews from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats removing what looks like an unexploded mine from the side of one of the two attacked oil tankers(U.S. Navy/U.S. Central Command)
Katada, the Japanese executive, called reports of a mine attack "false"on Friday, and said that the ship could not have been attacked by mines or a torpedo as the objects seen by crew were above the water.
The company that chartered the other ship on Thursday, the Front Altair, said it was "suspected of being hit by a torpedo."
Katada also said that the crew saw an Iranian naval ship near the Kokuka Courageous, the AP reported, but did not specify whether this was before or after the attacks.
The Kokuka Courageous was attacked twice, and all 21 crew members evacuated, leaving one "slightly injured."
The Front Altair was also evacuated, with all crew on board safe.
The attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil route, has left oil prices surging and could result in a showdown between the U.S. and Iranian militaries.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The Navy has found a possible smoking gun as the U.S. blames Iran for the latest tanker attack threatening the global oil market
- Iranian forces allegedly remove naval mine from tanker after US Navy rescues its crew members, US military claims
- The oil tanker attacks could make a U.S.-Iran military showdown inevitable, experts warn
- One of America's oldest bombers just took flight with the Air Force's newest hypersonic weapon for the first time
- 'All roads lead to occupation': Here's what would happen if Trump followed through on threats to send troops to Venezuela
SEE ALSO: Pentagon: We Won't Reveal Proof Iran Is Behind Recent Middle East Attacks, But Have We Ever Been Wrong Before?
WATCH NEXT: Gen. Petraeus On Iran And Shia Militias
The new acting secretary of the Navy said recently that he is open to designing a fleet that is larger than the current 355-ship plan, one that relies significantly on unmanned systems rather than solely on traditional gray hulls.
President Donald Trump, speaking during a closed-door speech to Republican Party of Florida donors at the state party's annual Statesman's Dinner, was in "rare form" Saturday night.
The dinner, which raised $3.5 million for the state party, was met with unusual secrecy. The 1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom at the south end of the resort. Reporters were not allowed to attend.
But the secrecy was key to Trump's performance, which attendees called "hilarious."
Riding the high of the successful event turnout — and without the pressure of press or cell phones — Trump transformed into a "total comedian," according to six people who attended the event and spoke afterward to the Miami Herald.
He also pulled an unusual move, bringing on stage Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who Trump pardoned last month for cases involving war crimes. Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering his soldiers shoot at unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Golsteyn was to stand trial for the 2010 extrajudicial killing of a suspected bomb maker.
Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.
Then a thumbs-up.
McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.
By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.