The owner of the Japanese tanker that was attacked on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the Kokuka Outrageous, contradicted the US military’s claims about the attack. Central Command reported that the two tankers were hit with limpet mines, a type of mine that is attached to the hull of a ship below the waterline using magnets. But Yutaka Katada, the owner of the Kokuka Outrageous, said he received reports a projectile hit the ship.
“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Katada said at a press conference, “The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”
US Central Command released a grainy black and white video of a boat alongside a ship, claiming it was an Iranian patrol boat removing a limpet mine from the Kokuka Outrageous, the claim being they were getting rid of the evidence. The video does not conclusively prove anything, as it is hard to tell what the boat is doing. Iranian state media said Iran rescued the crew of both tankers, so the video could have just been a recording of the rescue efforts.
In an interview with Fox and Friends Friday morning, President Trump blamed Iran for the attacks on the tankers. Trump cited the video as proof, “Well Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it.”
Trump, who has been known to sometimes contradict his more hawkish cabinet members, fell in line with his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Thursday, accused Iran of attacking the tankers with no evidence to back up his claim.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt made a statement on Friday, “We are going to make our own independent assessment, we have our processes to do that, (but) we have no reason not to believe the American assessment and our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally.”
No US officials have responded to the Japanese ship owner’s claims.
Dave DeCamp is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US Foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.