Norfolk-based destroyer dispatched to assist tankers damaged in reported attack

Military

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY/AP) — A Norfolk-based destroyer has been dispatched after two oil tankers were reportedly attacked near the Gulf of Oman.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge responded after the tankers suffered damage off the coast of Iran on Thursday, NBC News reports citing Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman.

The 5th Fleet Public Affairs released this statement:

We are aware of the reported attack on shipping vessels in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local (Bahrain) time and a second one at 7:00 a.m. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) rendered assistance.

The reported attack comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, preliminarily identified one of the vessels involved as the MT Front Altair, a Marshall Islands-flagged crude oil tanker.

The second vessel was identified as the Kokuka Courageous. BSM Ship Management said it sustained hull damage and 21 sailors had been evacuated, with one suffering minor injuries.

The Associated Press reports Frey did not say how the ships were attacked or who was suspected of being behind the assault.

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