By Erika Solomon
DUBAI, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A militant group linked to al Qaeda said on Wednesday a suicide bomber was responsible for a mystery explosion on a Japanese supertanker a week ago near the Strait of Hormuz but analysts cast doubt on the claim.
The crew of the M.Star reported a blast shortly after midnight last Wednesday, injuring one seaman but causing no oil spill or disruption to shipping in the strategic waterway.
The incident sparked theories ranging from a freak wave to a collision with a U.S. nuclear submarine.
Independent verification was not immediately available for the claim, which was signed by a "battalion" of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, posted with a photo of the alleged suicide bomber on a website used by Islamist militants.
"The martyrdom-seeking hero Ayyub al-Taishan ... blew himself up in the Japanese tanker M.Star," the statement said.
Attack caused damage to Japan tanker -UAE agency
DUBAI, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Investigators probing a reported blast on a Japanese supertanker near the Strait of Hormuz last week found remains of homemade explosives and have blamed the incident on a "terrorist attack", the United Arab Emirates state news agency reported on Friday.
"An examination carried out by specialised teams had confirmed that the tanker had been the subject of a terrorist attack," the agency said, quoting an unidentified coastguard source.
Originally posted by PuterMan
This looks like it has been caused by an explosion AT A DISTANCE from the hull, i.e. not something striking the hull.
What is the warning?
"UAE explosives experts who collected and examined samples found a dent on the starboard side above the water line and remains of home-made explosives on the hull," according to a statement released by the Arab nation’s news agency WAM.
"An examination carried out by specialized teams had confirmed that the tanker had been the subject of a terrorist attack," the statement said, citing an unnamed coast guard official.
A spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain and patrols the strait, said it was aware of the reports of explosive residue found on the Japanese tanker and that US Navy experts were in contact with Emirati officials to discuss the findings.
Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines said the M. Star oil tanker exploded on July 29 near the Strait of Hormuz, dominated by Iran. The UAE Coast Guard has concluded that an explosion that damaged the Japanese tanker was the result of a speedboat filled with explosives. Officials said the speedboat rammed into the M. Star tanker on July 29 in the Strait of Hormuz in the territorial waters of Oman.
Suspect ship seen before Japan tanker blast -media
17 Aug 2010 05:05:23 GMT
TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The radar of a Japanese supertanker that was damaged by an explosion near the Strait of Hormuz last month showed a small ship making suspicious movements near it at the time of the incident, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Tuesday.
Checks of the radar showed the suspicious ship left the area at high speed immediately afterwards, NHK said. The explosion, shortly after midnight on July 28, injured one seaman but caused no oil spill or disruption to shipping in the strategic waterway.
NHK said Japan's Transport Ministry believes there is a possibility the small ship launched an attack.
A militant group called Abdullah Azzam Brigades, linked to al Qaeda, claimed on Aug. 4 that a suicide bomber belonging to it had attacked the tanker.
Security analysts were sceptical of the group's claim, though the United Arab Emirates state news agency said investigators had found traces of explosives on the tanker.