UAE confirms terror link to Hormuz tanker attack

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 9 -- Explosives experts in the United Arab Emirates confirmed a Japanese-owned oil tanker steaming through the Strait of Hormuz last week came under a terrorist attack.

"UAE explosives experts who collected and examined samples found a dent on the starboard side above the water line and remains of home-made explosives on the hull," according to a statement released by the Arab nation’s news agency WAM.

"An examination carried out by specialized teams had confirmed that the tanker had been the subject of a terrorist attack," the statement said, citing an unnamed coast guard official.

A spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain and patrols the strait, said it was aware of the reports of explosive residue found on the Japanese tanker and that US Navy experts were in contact with Emirati officials to discuss the findings.

The Japanese government likewise said it was seeking further information from the UAE in connection with the terrorist allegations. Japanese Transport Minister Seiji Maehara said he instructed his ministry “to request the UAE via diplomatic channels to check on the facts.”

The statement by UAE officials appears to confirm earlier suspicions of Japanese officials who said at the time of the incident that an explosion had occurred in the rear starboard area of the ship, and that it was possible that the damage had been caused by an attack from outside.

The M Star, owned by Mitsui OSK, was damaged on July 28 as it travelled through the strait on its way to the port of Chiba near Tokyo. The vessel carried 270,000 tonnes of crude oil from the UAE. No spill resulted.

One crew member was slightly injured. But the tanker, which was loaded with 270,204 tonnes of oil, was able to continue under its own power to a port in the UAE, where the investigations are being conducted.

The UAE statement follows a claim by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is affiliated with the terrorist al-Qaeda organization, that it was responsible for the attack which took place on July 28.

In a statement posted on a militant website and dated Aug. 2, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades identified the bomber as Ayyub Al Tayshan, a group member, and said he blew himself up in the Strait of Hormuz between Oman and the UAE.

The group, which gave few other details, said it chose the location of the attack to "weaken the global infidel order that has assumed authority over Muslim lands, looting their resources, and to lift the oppression of Muslims."

A person close to the investigation said forensics evidence from the hull of the tanker showed that the explosives used were a homemade compound employing TNT-like materiel. "The bomb he made was homemade and very weak," the person said.

In a research note, JP Morgan underlined its view of the attack: "While this highlights security concerns at the world’s most important oil supply choke point, the scale of the attack seems pretty low-brow.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the Strait of Hormuz is “the world's most important oil chokepoint due to its daily oil flow of 16.5-17 million bbl (first half 2008E), which is roughly 40% of all seaborne traded oil (or 20% of oil traded worldwide).”

The al-Qaeda group has often threatened to target the strategic waterway, but the July attack is the first known attempt by an Islamic extremist group to carry out the threats.

In 2008, however, A Japanese oil tanker was fired upon in international waters off southern Yemen, about 400 km east of Aden, sustaining a hole which leaked hundreds of gallons of fuel (OGJ Online, Apr. 21, 2008).

In October 2002, militants linked to the al-Qaeda organization were blamed for an attack on the oil tanker Limburg off the coast of Yemen. One crew member was killed in that attack, which saw oil prices and insurance rates soar (OGJ, Oct. 21, 2002)

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Wed, Oct 7, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.

register:WEBCAST


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected