Tanker Wars 2.0?

June 14 2019: Two oil tankers, the 110,000 dwt LR2 Front Altair (built 2016) and the 27,000 dwt product tanker Kokuka Courageous (built 2010) were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday morning local time.  Both vessels were carrying petrochemical feedstock, the Front Altair naphtha destined for Taiwan and the Kokuka Courageous methanol to Singapore.  While both vessels were severely damaged, the crews of both ships are safe and unharmed.  The immediate impact of the incident was rather predictable: oil prices jumped as did gold and war risk premiums for tanker voyages into the Arabian Gulf.  Tanker owners and charterers alike are observing the situation before they commit to more cargoes and ships in the region.  The U.S. has said that it will consider providing naval escorts for commercial ships traveling through the Straits of Hormuz, the chokepoint at the southern point of the Arabian Gulf.  According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, an average of 16.8 million barrels per day of crude oil was transported through the Straits of Hormuz in 2018.  Significant volumes of refined products, as well as LNG, also use this route to export markets.  Accusations are flying as to who may be responsible for the attacks and, not surprisingly, the accused parties are denying involvement.

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