The Pentagon released declassified images on Monday of the recent Japanese oil tanker attack in the Gulf of Oman. They stood by their statement that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy is responsible for the attack.
The Trump administration blamed Iran for the attacks in the Gulf of Oman, which is near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, an important shipping route through which the entire world’s oil passes.
The Pentagon revealed that the crew of one of the tankers detected an unexploded limpet mine on its hull which consequenced into an initial explosion. The crew abandoned the ship and was rescued by the U.S. Navy’s USS Bainbridge.
“Later that day, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gashti Class patrol boat approached Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded by a U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopter removing the unexploded limpet mine from Kokuka Courageous,” the Pentagon said in a statement Monday.
“Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine.”
Last week, the owner of the Japanese vessel said that the oil tanker was struck by a projectile and not by mine, which is what the U.S. officials assessed as the source of the blast.
“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, said at a press conference Friday. “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline.
A U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal official, who initially spoke only on the condition of anonymity, emphasized that the blast fits the profile of a limpet mine and not of a torpedo.
“From a torpedo perspective, I would say no, because torpedos are designed to strike below the water and the hole that we do see is above the waterline,” the Navy official said Monday.
Another officer of the Navy said that the attacks profile showed that the attacker’s intentions were not that of sinking Kokuka Courageous.
“Generally to get water intrusion you want to blow a hole below the waterline,” said the official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official brought to notice that if the attack was intended towards sinking the ship then the vessel would have been hit at its bottom.