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ATTACKS on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz have heighted tensions in the region, with Iran denying US claims it was responsible.

The ships that came under attack were the Marshall Islands-flagged, Norwegian owned tanker Front Altair (IMO 974590) and the Panamanian-flagged Kokuka Courageous (IMO).

The Kokuka Courageous was breached above the hull while the Front Altair was suspected of being torpedoed causing it to catch fire but not sink (something suggested in earlier reports).

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The two crews were rescued by the ship Hyundai Dubai before being transferred to the Iranian Navy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already blamed Iran for the incidents, a claim already denied by Iran.

“Iran categorically rejects the US’ unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms,” the Iranian mission to the UN said in a statement

The Strait of Hormuz is hugely significant for the international oil trade, but is also close to some of the most politically volatile parts of the planet, with an ongoing civil war in Yemen and ongoing tensions between Iran on one hand and the US and its key regional ally Saudi Arabia.

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