Fri, 21 Jun 2019

The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet says it is rendering assistance after receiving separate distress calls from two oil tankers reportedly under attack in the Gulf of Oman.

'We are aware of the reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman,' the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said in a statement on June 13.

'U.S. Naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time and a second one at 7 a.m.,' the statement said.

'U.S. Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance,' it added.

The British Royal Navy-linked United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations safety group earlier issued a warning urging 'extreme caution' in the area.

The incident comes a month after four tankers were attacked off the United Arab Emirates, increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington and U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.

The U.A.E. blamed the attacks on an unnamed 'state actor,' while the United States alleged that Iran used mines to attack the tankers -- an accusation Tehran denied.

Based on reporting by the BBC, Reuters, AP, and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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