The Iraqi side confirmed that a tanker’s hull attached to a mine in the Gulf waters near Iraq. The military has organized professional exclusion.
The Iraqi military issued a statement on January 1, 2021, saying that the tanker is moored about 28 nautical miles (52 kilometers) off the Iraqi coast, and the hull is attached to an “foreign object”.
The military has airlifted explosive ordnance disposal teams to the tanker, while organizing the evacuation of the tanker and one that is receiving refueling. The crew of the ship.
On 31 December 2020, the British Maritime Trade Organization said on its website that an “unidentified object” was found on the hull of a ship off the coast of Iraq.
An Iraqi security officer who declined to be named told Reuters that it was a “complex mine with sensors that can cause sudden explosions” and “we have not dealt with such mines, and have asked for a more professional explosive ordnance disposal team to support”.
The Associated Press reported that these mines are usually mounted on the hull by special forces personnel, and the explosion can cause serious damage to the ship.
According to the Iraqi side, the tanker belongs to the Iraqi National Petroleum Marketing Authority and is leased to customers.
A senior oil analyst at the data analysis company Luft told the Associated Press that the tanker was used as an offshore refueling platform to replenish the Gulf waters.
In 2019, the United States designated Iran to attack several tankers with such mines near the Strait of Hormuz, which the Iranian side firmly denied.
On January 3, 2020, Qassem Suleimani, a senior Iranian general and commander of the “Quds Brigade” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed by a U.S. drone in Iraq.
Iran said it would “severely retaliate” for Suleimani’s death. As the first anniversary of the attack and killing of Suleimani approaches and regional tensions rise, the United States and Israel have recently intensified their military activities in Gulf waters.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on social media on December 31, 2020 that the U.S. government sent military aircraft and warships to the Gulf region, “intel from Iraq shows that [the United States] is trying to fabricate excuses for launching war”.