| Iran Attacks Three Tankers In The Gulf
Posted: November 17, 1987
MANAMA, Bahrain Iranian gunboats attacked three tankers in the Persian Gulf yesterday, including a U.S.- owned vessel whose captain apparently pleaded for help over his radio from any American warship in the vicinity.
Shipping sources said that the captain of the Esso Freeport was overheard calling on the ship's radio, "American warship, American warship" as his vessel came under attack.
There was no response from any warship, the sources said, and it was not known if any U.S. naval vessel was in the area.
U.S. warships are prohibited from intervening during attacks on ships other those flying the American flag.
The Esso Freeport was attacked by two Iranian gunboats firing rocket- propelled grenades in the southern end of the gulf. The ship is owned by oil giant Exxon Corp., based in New York, and is registered in the Bahamas.
Damage was slight, according to shipping sources based in the gulf, and no injuries were reported.
The ship had taken on a full load of crude oil in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
The second Iranian attack yesterday was on a Greek vessel, the Filikon L. It took place close to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway at the mouth of the gulf.
Two Iranian speedboats fired on the the Greek ship, causing a fire on board, according to the shipping sources. The damage to the ship could not be immediately determined.
The third ship attacked was the Lucy, which was hit off Oman by rocket- propelled grenades fired from Iranian gunboats, according to North American Ship Agencies of New York, the owner.
The Lucy, which flies the Liberian flag, reported minor damage, but no casualties.
The gunboat attacks appeared to be retaliation for a recent wave of Iraqi air raids against Iranian oil installations and tankers ferrying oil from Iran.
( From Inquirer Wire Services )