Dubai, June 18 (IANS) The 32 Filipino crew members of the two tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 who are now in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were safe and unharmed, the Philippine envoy said here on Tuesday.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana in a statement said she met the 11 Filipino crew of the MT Front Altair and the 21 Filipino seamen of the MT Kokuka Courageous in two separate meetings to check on their condition, reports Gulf News.
"Ambassador Quintana is happy to report that all Filipino seafarers are unharmed and in good condition. The seafarers are appreciative of the concern extended to them by the Philippine government and all those involved in their rescue," the statement said.
On June 13, two oil tankers -- Front Altair, owned by shipping company Frontline Ltd. that is controlled by Norwegian-born magnate John Fredriksen, and the Panamanian-flagged Kokuka Courageous -- were reportedly hit by unknown attackers in the Gulf of Oman.
The US has accused Iran of being responsible for the attacks, and the latter has denied the allegation.
"The manning agencies are now looking after the crews' well-being and are dealing with their repatriation."
The Norwegian-owned oil tanker's crew members arrived in Dubai after two days in Iran.
Loaded with naphtha from the UAE, the Front Altair called for help as its cargo of flammable chemicals caught fire, reports Gulf News.
The Kokuka Courageous, meanwhile, which carried methanol from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, radioed for help a while later.
The US Navy's USS Bainbridge rescued up 21 mariners from the Kokuka Courageous who stayed overnight on the destroyer before returning to their vessel on June 14 to help as it was towed to Fujairah.
The tanker on June 15 arrived off the coast of Fujairah, where similar attacks on four other oil tankers took place in May.