WATCH: Iranian forces allegedly remove naval mine from tanker after US Navy rescues its crew members, US military claims

US Central Command
  • The US military released videos and pictures of what it alleged to be an Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ patrol boat removing what is believed to be an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
  • A limpet mine is an explosive charge that magnetically attaches itself to the hull of a ship. Iran used similar mines in the late-1980s against tankers during the so-called Tanker War.
  • “The US and our partners in the region will take all necessary measures to defend ourselves and our interests,” US Central Command said in a statement.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US military released videos and pictures of what it alleged to be an Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ patrol boat removing what is believed to be an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The US accused the Iranian forces of attaching the mine on the Japanese-owned tanker Kokuka Courageous and removing it after conducting an attack.

US Central Command provided photos and videos of the damage:

Iran boatUS Central Command

Two motor tankers, the Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned Altair, submitted distress calls early in the morning while sailing in international waters. The USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), a guided missile destroyer, was approximately 40 nautical miles away from the Altair and responded to its distress call “immediately,” CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said.

US aircraft observed Iranian patrol boats and fast-attack vessels near the Altair. Iranian forces later took control of the Altair’s crew, CENTCOM said.

The Bainbridge managed to rescue 21 sailors who abandoned the Kokuka Courageous after an explosion. The fleeing sailors also discovered what appeared to be an unexploded mine attached to their hull.

A limpet mine is an explosive charge that magnetically attaches itself to the hull of a ship. Iran used similar mines in the late-1980s against tankers during the so-called Tanker War.

Hours after the crew was rescued, an Iranian patrol boat was seen allegedly removing a suspected unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous:

“The US and our partners in the region will take all necessary measures to defend ourselves and our interests,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “Today’s attacks are a clear threat to international freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce.”

“The United States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East,” CENTCOM added. “However, we will defend our interests.”

The Iranians called the allegations “unfounded” and characterised it as part of a broader “Iranophobic campaign.”

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