Crude Oil prices rise after tanker explosions in Gulf

Suspected attacks as two tankers exploded on the Gulf of Oman

Oil prices have surged after suspected attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the Iranian coast.

A unit of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy said it was aware of the incident on Thursday and the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet has said it was assisting after receiving distress calls.

Iran’s navy rescued 44 crew members from the two tankers, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Thursday’s incident included one tanker on fire in the Gulf of Oman and followed sabotage attacks on May 12 on vessels near the Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs and located just outside the Strait of Hormuz. 

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Brent crude futures were up $2, or 3.3 percent, at $61.97 a barrel by 06:46 GMT. United States’ West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.41, or 2.7 percent, at $52.55 a barrel.

Crude prices had fallen to five-month lows before the latest reports.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is part of the UK Royal Navy, said on Thursday that it was aware of an incident in the Gulf of Oman, near the Iranian coast.

“UK and its partners are currently investigating,” it said. 

US National Security Adviser John Bolton had said on May 29 that naval mines, “almost certainly from Iran”, were used to attack the tankers off the United Arab Emirates last month, and warned Tehran against conducting new operations.