U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet Aids Tankers After ‘Torpedo Attack’

| June 13, 2019

tanker attack

Seems the Mad Mullahs of Iran are feeling free to cause a little havoc in what they consider “Their” pond. Last month four oil tankers anchored in the Gulf were damaged by what officials described as sabotage, and now this, claimed as a torpedo attack on two more tankers.

Iran’s belligerence in the Gulf in the late 1980s led to Operation Earnest Will , in which U.S. warships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks. This turned into Operation Praying Mantis when the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine that nearly sank the ship. Subsequent discovery of additional mines by US Navy Divers revealed the serial numbers matched those of mines seized along with the Iran Ajr the previous September.

In retaliation, Operation Prating Mantis resulted in American Marines, ships and aircraft destroying Iranian naval and intelligence facilities on two oil platforms in the Persian Gulf, and sinking at least three armed Iranian speedboats, one Iranian frigate and one fast attack gunboat. One other Iranian frigate was damaged in the battle.

Now this.

Elements of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet were called to assist two oil tankers early Thursday morning, in distress after a “reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.”
The Bahrain-based force released scant details of the attack on the vessels. No blame was laid or state actor/terrorist organization named by ship operators or authorities in Oman or neighboring United Arab Emirates.
One of the ships, the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo”, according to Taiwan’s state-owned petrol company. The ship was on fire, its owners said.

The second tanker, Kokuka Courageous, was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line while on passage from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, according to Bernhard Schulte Ship management.

The 5th Fleet said it had sent naval forces to the area to assist the two vessels.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) is providing assistance to ships that had called for help, spokesperson Cmdr. Joshua Frey told USNI News on Thursday morning.

Read the entire article here: Breitbart

Category: Iran, Navy, Usual Suspects

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So, does this mean that Iran isn’t happy with DTrump’s walking away from that nuke deal? It doesn’t sound like something new, as noted in the article, but it is cheap tricks with them, as usual.


It seems like odd timing though. Japans Prime Minister is currently in Iran having talks with them as a conduit to restart communications with Washington. Both of the ships also have major ownership ties to Japan. Not sure if it’s a coincidence or if someone really does not want Japan meddling in ME affairs.

This is going to get interesting.


We have a pretty strong defense relationship with Japan.

Someone may want us to respond, playing the game of “Let’s you and him fight”.

Slow Joe

Which someone do you imply?

I think it is clear Iran is trying to force concessions from us.

“Pay us dollars or we sink oil tankers!!”


U.S Navy vs Bass Pro Shop, SOON?


No, no. Bass Pro Shop is a good place to go, especially when spring fishing time rolls around and you want to take your little quackers to a real outdoor sports shop.

US Navy vs Dicks is more like it.

E-4 Mafia 4 Life

US Navy Vs Harbor Freight.

5th/77th FA

Those crazy fools actually act like they want to go to war. And I guess, they think they could win one. Or they don’t care if they lose as long as they cause a potential global conflict that brings death to Americans.

Screw the ME and protect OUR borders. Did we not read/hear of them possibly having a diesel/electric sub? Sink that and call the boys and girls in Minot to turn the rest of that country into a sheet of glass.

This crap been ongoing for thousands of years. It will never stop until the last one is dead. YMMV

Cameron Kingsley

They do have three Soviet Kilo-class diesel electric submarines (I would say these are their most dangerous subs). They appear to be building three new Fateh-class submarines with one already in active service for a total of four boats according to Wikipedia (not to sure how good they are). I believe the Fateh-Class can fire cruise missiles.

5th/77th FA

Thanks CK. Looks like we might could find a little honest work for our P8s. One would think that the 5th Fleet is keeping a close eye on those boats. If this was, in fact, a torpedo attack, maybe they need to be keeping a closer eye on them.

Cameron Kingsley

Here’s the list. They also have some from North Korea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_ships_of_the_Islamic_Republic_of_Iran_Navy


Along with the pier would be my suggestion…


How big a can opener do you need to scuttle an Iranian sub at the docks?


I would imagine a 500 pound bomb with an armor penetrating casing would do it.

That is the same thing that killed USS Arizona, and a number of IJN carriers.

POP! Goes the wessel.

Strafe it with some AP 20mm or 30mm, and that boat isn’t going anywhere underwater for a while.


I’d think a flight of A-10’s could do the job… or a SEAL team… or a MOAB…

Slow Joe

Yeah, but if you sink them at the pier the Iranians might recover them and bring them back to duty.

Better to sink them out at sea.


Slow Joe (a.k.a. Yef):

So now you’re also an expert at anti-submarine warfare, and you think that you know more about it than AW1Ed? Really?

Rather than destroying those subs at the pier where they are easily targeted and can be damaged beyond repair, you really think that it’s somehow a better idea to let those subs get out of port and out into the Gulf where they could potentially damage or sink some of our ships before we are able to hunt them down and kill them?

You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

Do us all a favor and stay in your two-dimensional, 3 mile-per-hour “infantryman” lane.

Carlton G Long

I’m not a naval combat expert (I pumped gas in the army), but I think that destroying a sub in the pier sends a strong message … that if you try anything, you won’t even be able to set sail. Jyst my 0.02


Joe, if we sink it at the pier, we get a wrecked sub, with the added bonus of a blocked and damaged pier. It’s more economical that way.



Prior Service

If we sink it at sea, we get deniability if we want, less risk to the aircrew, and total loss of the sub’s crew. Not an argument for or against, but some points to consider.


From the Mantis link:

“5:15 p.m.: The Iranian frigate Sabalan fires at an A-6, which dodges the missile and returns to drop a 500-pound bomb down the ship’s exhaust stack, leaving it dead in the water”



BOOM! Next target!

Cameron Kingsley

Here’s the Wikipedia list of active ships used by the Iranian Navy.

Cameron Kingsley

They built a new Sahand Frigate to replace the one we sank in Praying Mantis.
What are the odds it gets sunk again.


Never heard of Operation Praying Mantis. Thanks for the link. I guess the mad mullahs have forgotten about it, as well. Looks like they need another dose of U.S. Navy combat action to get their attention.


For additional info on some of the stupid things that the mad mullahs have done over the years, I recommend that you also take a look at this U.S. operation against the Iranians that occurred the year prior to Operation PREYING MANTIS on 21/22 September 1987 during Operation PRIME CHANCE. (There are also some good photos from the operation embedded in the linked article.)

‘Capturing the Iran Ajr’


‘The Iran Ajr, formerly known as the Arya Rakhsh, was a Japanese-built amphibious landing ship used by Iran to lay naval mines during the Iran-Iraq War. The 614-ton, 54-meter ship was the focus of one of the most dramatic moments of Operation Prime Chance, which was the secret portion of Operation Earnest Will, which was the mission to protect U.S.-flagged petroleum-carrying ships in the Persian Gulf.



Correction: Operation PRAYING MANTIS


Hey! Mick said “Mantis”! Shall I call up the ever-faithful, aggressively ambitious and nasty-tempered mantis shrimp to befoul the Iranian Fleece – er, fleet?

I can see the headlines now: Operation Mantis Shrimp successfully smacks Iranian ships in the Straits of Hormel – er, Hormuz. Photo included of giant mantis shrimp doing the old one-two punch on the Iranian frigate Smoking Lamp.

A Proud Infidel®™️

The only thing that the Mad Mullahs and their minions understand is massive force, the sooner the better.


Someone else may want us mad at Iran, as a distraction. China might want us punching another Tar Baby. Or Russia. The thinking may be “keep them busy with a real shooting war, thus out of an economic one elsewhere”.

Someone who is tired of putting up with Iran’s Shiite may have done this. Lots of potential players, and any of them could have limpet-mined those tankers in port.

Iran themselves could have done so, hoping to blame Jews, Saudis, or any number of others.

Makes one wonder what the US subs in the area heard, pre-kabooms.


It’s really, really shaping up to be “Operation-Iran Becomes A Stoneage Cinder”.

A Proud Infidel®™️

Nuke ‘em until they glow!


No need for nukes.

Their economy is very fragile, oil dependent, and has a readily targeted bottleneck in oil and gas transportation.

Their political system depends on strong centralized control and communications. The large percentage of their economy under central control adds to this vulnerability.

Their national water supply is a -mess-, and is barely adequate at the moment.

There is significant potential for inflicting widespread debilitating chaos without using any nukes.


Kuwait is still shipping oil through the Persian Gulf, right?

They need a better system to replace oil tankers, just for the nonce.


To anyone that thinks escalation is a good thing I’m going have to stop you right there. Without a doubt there are sleeper cells in western cities that are armed and have the capability to physically knock out infrastructure. Add to that, Iran and her allies have very nasty e-warfare programs, remember they have Stuxnet and the other viruses that Israel has thrown at them.
And then there’s the reports that Iran has multiple nukes, only lacking greater than medium range tactical missiles with lift capability.
The thing that should really strike fear into everyone, deniability. The Shia True Believers will not surrender and without proof the State was behind the attacks any retaliation could have serious consequences for us.
Anyway you cut it, this is bad.


Well, we can’t hold off on retaliation simply because they might have plans for our demise in the works.
Don’t forget, there are tons of us out there wondering when Cowboy’s and Muslims
Turning and running simply because we might piss some iranian moron mullah off is ridiculous.


Trust me, I’m all about ‘putting the band back together’ and running roughshod over those intolerable pricks but in the age of 4th Generation Warfare, there ain’t no winners.
Unless there’s a clear casus belli we should be handsoff this bs.


They can indeed hurt us. They cannot, however, badly hurt us absent detonating nukes here. And that action ends the existence of Iran.

We, on the other hand, can emasculate Iran without nukes. Render the current regime economically and politically dysfunctional, and the locals will likely take care of it for us. If not, some of their rivals likely will do so.

“You should refrain from pissing us off, or we will leave you broke and vulnerable to your local enemies.”


Maybe someone who is an expert in Naval ordnance can chime in, but if that tanker had, in fact, been hit amidships by a “torpedo”, wouldn’t the tanker be on fire from stem to stern and/or sitting at the bottom of the gulf right now?

IIRC most torpedoes have between 500 and 1000lbs of high explosive. Detonated right on or under the hull of a ship the result is a catastrophic structural failure, not a little flame and some smoke. The fire in that picture looks like at most maybe a couple of RPGs hit it and set some oil on fire.


The news (FWIW) is reporting that an undetonated mine was found affixed to one of the ships.

Sabotage, while in port. No need to risk one of their subs, just a team of divers that could be deniable. Or maybe something sophisticated tossed overboard, to rise and attach to a later passing ship.

Of course, someone else could be setting this up to look like Iran. Several of our rivals are quite capable of such work.

LCpl Rhodes

No trolls. Congrats, you’re #2 on my shit-list, LCpl.




BDA = 100/100.

Thanks, AW1Ed. I saw his post before you got to it. ‘Nuff said.

Cameron Kingsley

What did he say this time?

A Proud Infidel®™️

I don’t blame you one bit for deleting it, that was truly a 24K Asshole comment and I wonder if it wasn’t posted by someone who has trolled here in the past?