Contradicting Trump Claim of Iranian Mine Attack, Owner of Japanese Oil Tanker Says 'Flying Object' Likely Caused Explosions
During a press conference just hours after the U.S. released video footage that purported to show an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of an oil tanker, the Japanese owner of that vessel said Friday that the ship was likely damaged by a “flying object” and called claims of a mine attack “false.”
“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that operates the Kokuka Courageous tanker, told reporters in Tokyo.
Katada’s account of the attack appeared to contradict the Trump administration’s suggestion that Iranian mines were responsible for the explosions that damaged the Kokuka Courageous and one other oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
As Common Dreams reported Friday, major American media outlets uncritically propagated the U.S. military’s video footage and accompanying claims, despite widespread skepticism from independent critics and other nations.
In his first public comments on the oil tanker attacks, President Donald Trump said during a telephone interview on “Fox & Friends” Friday morning that “Iran did do it,” pointing to the U.S. military’s grainy video footage.
“You know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump said. “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.”
But Katada said the crew members who were aboard the Kokuka Courageous at the time of the attack believe the vessel was damaged by “something [that] flew towards them.”
“That created the hole, is the report I’ve received,” Katada said. “It seems there was a high chance they were attacked by a flying object. The impact was well above the water. I don’t think it was a torpedo.”