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A Hormuz whodunit

Last Wednesday, someone or something caused a huge dent in the side of the Japanese oil tanker M. Star as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz on its way back to Japan. The ship’s crew say they saw an "outside explosion" that caused the dent and the ship’s owner, the Mitsui corporation, sticking with ...

Last Wednesday, someone or something caused a huge dent in the side of the Japanese oil tanker M. Star as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz on its way back to Japan. The ship’s crew say they saw an "outside explosion" that caused the dent and the ship’s owner, the Mitsui corporation, sticking with the story of an attack. Authorities in the U.A.E. and Oman initially disputed that account, saying that a rogue wave had likely caused the dent, but are not examining the ship for clues. The U.S. Navy is also participating in the investigation but hasn’t said much of anything yet. 

Now, an al Qaeda-linked Egyptian terrorist group is claiming responsibility for the attack: 

In a statement posted on a militant website and dated Aug. 2, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a group believed to be based in Egypt that has affiliated itself with al Qaeda, said it targeted the supertanker with a suicide attack in what it hoped would be a blow against the global economy and oil markets. "After midnight last Wednesday, the martyr hero Ayyub Al Tayshan blew himself up in the Japanese oil tanker M. Star in the Strait of Hormuz between the U.A.E. and Oman," the statement said.

It’s hardly unusual for terror groups to take credit for attacks they didn’t carry out, and Abdullah Azzam Brigades has cried wolf so many times that some doubt it even exists. 

On the other hand, something caused the dent. The theories that the damage was caused by an internal explosion or a rogue wave have been ruled out by the type of dent that occurred. Other theories include a collision with a submarine or another vessel. To my untrained eye, the dent certainly doesn’t look like it was caused by an explosion. But why would the ship’s crew lie. And why would Mitsui stick with a story that could make their insurance rates go through the roof?

Lots of questions here and probably the most intriguing maritime mystery since the disappearance of the Arctic Sea

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