Tanker hit in Gulf of Oman attacks heads to port
A Japanese tanker, one of two vessels attacked in sensitive Gulf waters this week, was heading to port yesterday, its owners said. The United Arab Emirates called on world powers “to secure international navigation and access to energy” after the incident Thursday, which sent crude prices soaring amid a tense standoff between Iran and the US. The Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman when was rocked by explosions, causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished. The other ship which came under attack, the Norwegian-operated Front Altair, was being towed away from Iranian waters and would undergo a damage assessment later Saturday, said a spokeswoman for its operator.
US grants energy-hungry Iraq Iran sanctions waiver
The United States has granted Iraq another 90-day waiver to continue with vital energy imports from neighbouring Iran despite re-imposed sanctions, a government source said yesterday. The extension came after “long discussions” with Washington ahead of a looming deadline on a previous extension granted in December, the official, close to the negotiations, told AFP on condition of anonymity. Iranian energy imports are vital to Iraq, one of the world’s hottest countries, which faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day. Summer temperatures in Baghdad are already topping seasonal averages, boosting electricity consumption and raising fears of a repeat of last summer’s mass protests over power outages.
Indonesia returns five containers of waste to US
Indonesia has returned five containers of rubbish to the United States and will not become a “dumping ground”, officials said yesterday, the latest Southeast Asian country to return imported waste. The containers were supposed to contain only paper scrap, according to the customs documents. Instead they were loaded with other waste including bottles, plastic waste, and diapers, said senior environment ministry official Sayid Muhadhar. It is the latest country to return imported rubbish after neighbouring Malaysia vowed to ship back hundreds of tonnes of plastic waste last month. The Philippines has ordered tonnes of garbage dumped in the country to be shipped back to Canada, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.
Saudi-led coalition hits Houthi positions in Sanaa
A Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes on Iran-allied Houthi forces in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, Saudi state television reported early yesterday, part of an escalation of tit-for-tat strikes that has stoked regional tensions. The strikes hit air-defence systems and other military positions in the Houthi-controlled city, days after the Houthis launched a missile
recognised government that was forced out of Sanaa by the Houthis. The Houthis have stepped up drone and missile attacks on cities in neighbouring Saudi Arabia in recent months as tensions have risen between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied with the United States further afield across the Middle East. The Yemen conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran