BAHRAIN, Aug. 10, Reuter: Shock waves rippled through ugh the shipping world today after a supertanker hit a mine outside the hazardous gulf in an area regarded as a safe haven for shipping.

The Texaco Caribbean, loaded with Iranian crude, was holed by a mine in the sea of Oman about 12 miles off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) port of Fujairah.

“This is going to create Havoc,” one shipping agent in Saudi Arabia said. “This is where all the ships anchor when going in and out of the gulf”.

“Everyone is very worried”, a gulf salvage operator said.

It was the first time a vessel had been damaged outside the gulf since the Iran Iraq war spilled over into the gulf sea lanes to threaten merchant shipping in 1984.

Shipping sources said it might cause higher freight and insurance rates and was bound to worry the oil markets, though it was too early to assess reaction.

“Insurance companies will be the first to make a move”, a tanker broker said.

The Texaco Caribbean struck the mine barely three days after Iran staged naval manoeuvers in the strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the gulf and passageway for one sixth of the oil exports from the noncommunist world.

Five ships had been damaged by mines inside the gulf in the last three months, but all were in the northern end near Kuwait. The last was the reflagged Kuwaiti tanker Bridgeton which was being escorted by U.S. warships to Kuwait on July 24.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 14, 1987