Oil supplies to Europe and further afield are at risk of serious disruption, the world’s oil tanker association has warned, following more attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf.  

“We need to remember that some 30 percent of the world’s crude oil passes through the straits. If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire Western world could be at risk,” Paolo d’Amico, the head of Intertanko, the global association of privately-owned oil tank vessels, said on Thursday 13th June.  

He spoke after two ships – the Front Altair, carrying naphtha from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Japan and the Kokuka Courageous, carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore – were damaged by explosions earlier the same day.  

The attack saw world oil prices jump 4.4 percent the same day, before dropping slightly. The incident was the second attack on shipping in the region in four weeks, recalling the so-called Tanker War of the 1980s, when hundreds of vessels were damaged during the Iran-Iraq conflict. 
The new attacks come amid years of proxy warfare between Iran and Gulf allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and others.  

They also come amid escalating tension between the US and Israel and Iran over Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme.  

For their part, the US and UK immediately blamed Iran for the assault. But Iran’s UN mission said it had nothing to do with the events.