Middle EastTankers

Tankers torpedoed in the Middle East

Two tankers have been targeted this morning while transiting waters near to Fujairah. Frontline’s fully laden LR 2 Front Altair was hit by surface attacks, and an enormous fire ensued forcing the crew to abandon ship. The crew were safely picked up by nearby general cargoship, Hyundai Dubai. 

Bernhard Schulte’s chemical tanker Kokuka Courageous was also hit by torpedoes this morning, one month and one day from the moment four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines off Fujairah. The ship disappeared from several ship tracking sites for a period of time today but is now back on the MarineTraffic site, with a ‘Stopped’ status.

“The hull has been breached above the water line on the starboard side,” Bernhard Schulte said in a statement on its website. “All crew are reported safe and only one minor injury reported.”

The two targeted ships are lying approximately 50 km apart in Iranian waters east of Fujairah. 

“ The UK and its partners are currently investigating,” UK Maritime Trade Operations said on its website this morning, warning all vessels in the region to exercise extreme caution. The attacks have also been confirmed today by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Commenting on today’s attacks, security consultant Lars Bergqvist told Splash: “Although this incident seems to be outside the [High Risk Area], but inside the [Voluntary Reporting Area], it always advisable to follow BMP5 in these waters.” BMP5 is a counter-piracy best practice management guide developed by leading shipping associations. Bergqvist also urged owners to review guidelines for transit of Bab Al Mandab.

Below shows the movement of the Kokuka Courageous today by MarineTraffic.com.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Torpedoes? With the damage above the waterline? And the cargo intact? Seems highly unlikely. A torpedo would explode underneath the hull, breaking the ship’s back. Neither the ship nor the cargo would be intact.

    1. To the media any object hurled at a ship is a torpedo. Just like every long gun is an assault rifle (AR-15).

    2. It was the officers on the ship that said it was a torpedo because there were no other boats around them to launch an RPG. The ship was doing full speed so no one could get close to attach a limpit mine like the other ships at the anchorage last month.

  2. This article and the previous article about the four tankers, doesn’t explain where the torpedoes come from.

  3. Looks like a strike on the water line. Not a modern torpeedo. No doubt some pile of shit weapons system decades old

  4. R. T. Erdogan is the only leader having interest and could authorise the planning and execution of such attacks.

  5. Any modern torpedo explodes about 16 meters below the keel. Just to improve de bubble pulse efect. Unless old torpedoes. ( straight run.
    Do not seems torpedo attack.

  6. A sea mine is not likely to go off so precisely amidships as is pictured.

    A modern advanced capability torpedo is not likely to go off so precisely amidships as is pictured, but rather closest to the loud engineroom and / or the large magnetic influence of the machinery.

    A visually targeted and / or guided torpedo might be aimed at the visual center of the target to minimize probability of error.

  7. Could it be that Trump/US , the Saudis, the UAE, and Turkey want to find a reason to go to war with Iran? I hope our Military sees through this ploy.

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