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Japanese Tanker Owner Denies Ship Hit By Mine, Says Crew Saw “Flying Objects” Before Attack

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

For a moment on Thursday, it appeared that the US Navy had produced the ‘smoking gun’ to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had alluded during his statement from earlier in the day: CENTCOM footage which the Navy said purported to show Iran’s IRGC ‘caught in the act’ of trying to remove an unexploded  mine from the Kokuka Courageous, one of the two tankers damaged in Thursday’s attacks.

CENTCOM said the video it released showed the IRGC removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of one of the tankers, suggesting Tehran had sought to remove evidence from the scene.

After the video’s release, Iran continued to deny any involvement in the attacks. And perhaps now we know why.

In comments that cast the entire narrative promulgated by the US in doubt, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the Kokuka Courageous, said Friday that he doesn’t completely believe Washington’s version of events.

Instead, he said the vessel wasn’t damaged by a mine, but by some kind of projectile, like, say, a torpedo. He called reports of a mine attack “false.” One reason is because a mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level, like what was seen with the Courageous.

“A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level,” said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. “We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship,” he said.

Another is because of a suspicious sighting by some of the crew, according to Bloomberg.

Japanese Tanker Owner Denies Ship Hit By Mine, Says Crew Saw "Flying Objects" Before Attack

Yutaka Katada

According to the CEO, sailors on board the Courageous saw “flying objects” just before the ship was hit, suggesting the vessel wasn’t damaged by mines, but by objects that could have been fired from a distance.

Katada’s comments contradict Washington’s allegations of a mine attack, though the CEO did mention that his crew had spotted an Iranian Navy ship nearby around the time of the attack, though he didn’t say whether it was before or after.

The Courageous was carrying 225,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Asia and was flying a Panama flag at the time of the attack. Analysts immediately noted the poor timing for Tehran: The attack occurred just as senior Iranian leaders were meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Courageous suffered two explosions, forcing the crew to evacuate. Fortunately for the company, the ship is unlikely to sink or even lose fuel or goods stored onboard – but it will need to be repaired, Katada said. The US said the ship’s 21-member crew was rescued by a Dutch tug boat and was later taken aboard the USS Bainbridge.

Per CBS News, the US may have wanted to show Iran deploying mines because Iran previously used mines against oil tankers in 1987 and 1988 in the “Tanker War,” when the US Navy escorted ships through the region.

In other news, the US Military said the Navy Destroyer USS Mason is en route to the area in the Sea of Oman where the two tankers were attacked. The military added that it has no interest in engaging in new conflict in the Middle East and that it is ready to defend US interests as well as freedom of navigation.

Iran categorically rejected the US unfounded claim regarding tanker attacks, according to Iran’s foreign minister and its mission to the UN.

Markets appeared to shrug off the news, but the uncertainty will likely create problems for the US as it tries to justify more strict sanctions, or a beefed up military presence to “escort” tankers. However, this didn’t stop President Trump on Friday from once again placing the blame squarely on Iran.

We imagine the US will continue pushing this line, unless more substantial evidence supporting Katada’s claims emerges.

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  • adzsiam

    If this is meant to be a ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident, its laughable. Its like a bad version of any Ed Wood movie but with an unlimited budget, and production crew who believe they have an MGM classic in their hands.

    • Sinbad2

      I think it might just be to push up the price of oil, and also to warn Japan about talking to Iran.

      • Concrete Mike

        Yes i agree with you again.

        Thank for sharing your experience and expertise, its what makes our little community great!

        Oh how small you would have felt in the typhoon you mentioned yesterday, all you can do it point the nose to the waves right?

        • Sinbad2

          It’s the smell, taste of the salt and the electricity in the air, I fkn loved standing up on the island looking at and feeling the power.

          • Concrete Mike

            Ah yes i love that salty air, i live 30km inland now, i grew up on the coast, sometimes when the tide is just right the smell makes it up here.

            I dont want to be out at sea in a storm though.

            My uncle asked me to go fish lobster this fall.

            Im seriously thinking about it.

            Just for the fuck of it.

        • FlorianGeyer

          https://www.offshore-technology.com/contractors/environmental/miko-marine/

          This makes sense of the grainy US photos.
          The alleged magnetic mine is most likely to be a temporary magnetic mooring device for the rescue boat. Especially when we consider that those on board crowding around to see what was being releases :)

          • Concrete Mike

            Great research Florian!!! That is excellent, case closed.

  • Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

    that video looks like its from the 50s, sorry mossad/cia, your false flags are getting really shitty, just give up

    • Rob

      Those countries that produce oil, gas, gold, silver, diamond, amerold uranium and technologies US, NATO and Israel are their main enemies.

      Rubber dog.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0648b1d1b716c5350d841b5b82159b27b87d69c6e787c8e6ba0a3894cf86d8a.jpg

    • FlorianGeyer

      IF a magnetic device was being removed by the Iranian rescue boat, the following description of the most likely equipment to be part of a rescue boat equipment would be the following I suggest.

      “The stronger magnets are used for fastening large objects such as oil booms or other types of heavy diving equipment. They can also be used to create temporary mooring points for lighter vessels, for example, a survey boat, barge or similar, to the ship side or to the rig leg.

      The neodymium magnetic components of the magnets are coated with epoxy to improve their corrosion resistance in seawater. They are equipped with a mooring lug and breaking lever for easy release and safe operation. Each magnet also contains a rubber filling which creates increased friction and improved usability.”

      https://www.offshore-technology.com/contractors/environmental/miko-marine/

  • Sinbad2

    I think the Iranians were taking forensic samples to determine what hit the tanker.
    I think it will turn out to be some kind of projectile used by the US Navy, and used on USS Bainbridge or its helicopter.
    Remember how clear the collateral murder chopper footage was?
    Why is this so fuzzy?

  • Xoli Xoli

    Definitely a Israel,nato and Turkey job.Iran sell the oil and bomb the tanker is foolish and unreliable false intelligence.

  • Tommy Jensen

    The video is a clear evidence that Iran was placing WMD on US and its Allies property, jeopardizing human lives and the eco system.
    The tanker owners opinion is third party. How could any crew see anything when all our missiles are stealth invisible and nobody can see them before they hit?

    • Free man

      Iran is clearly behind the recent attacks in the Gulf & Iraq. The regime in Tehran lies repeatedly. No reason to believe its denials.

      • Tudor Miron

        Is that you Bibi? How’s weather in Tel Aviv?

      • Concrete Mike

        Copy+paste!

        Go away fool.

        Iraq attacks? Quite trying to weave a web of lies.

        Thats twice I call you out? I see you pattern its so predictable.

        • Free man

          “Canadian” feeble Mike, you need more sources of information besides IRNA.

    • FlorianGeyer
  • AM Hants

    Off topic, but, another regime change, gone wrong.

    Well done Moldova.

    EURASIAHEADLINE NEWSMOLDOVA
    MAJOR: U.S Backed Color Revolution In Moldova Misfires As Oligarch Plahotniuc And His Democratic Party Supporters Flee On Jets… https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/06/major-u-s-backed-color-revolution-in-moldova-misfires-as-oligarch-plahotniuc-and-his-democratic-party-supporters-flee/

  • goingbrokes

    Iran is hiding evidence by removing mines…

    Yeah, and US is removing evidence by killing Osama bin-Laden, I wanted to talk to the guy!

  • Black Waters

    The U.S totalitarian state is pushing the same propaganda over and over again.

    No doubt about it, it was the U.S

  • Sinbad2

    Only Lloyd Bridges can leap that far out of the water whilst wearing a scuba tank.
    It proves the Americans did it.

  • Sinbad2

    This is proof America is going backwards.

    Look at the new crappy quality video above, now look at the video below, filmed in 2007.

    Even the moon mission video was better quality.

    https://youtu.be/25EWUUBjPMo