Explosives traces found on supertanker

CAIRO (Kyodo) Traces of homemade explosives have been found on the hull of a Japanese supertanker damaged last week in the Strait of Hormuz, indicating the ship was attacked by a boat loaded with explosives, a state-run news agency in the United Arab Emirates reported Friday.

Emirates News Agency, better known as WAM, quoted a UAE Coast Guard source as saying local explosives experts “found a dent on the starboard side above the waterline and remains of homemade explosives on the hull.”

“Probably the tanker had encountered a terrorist attack from a boat loaded with explosives,” the source said.

The report came after the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, a militant group linked to al-Qaida, claimed earlier this week, in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site, that its suicide bomber was responsible for the attack.

The attack on the 160,292-ton M. Star, owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., occurred shortly after midnight on July 29 as the ship was sailing in the western part of the strait, carrying crude oil from the port of Das Island in Abu Dhabi to the port of Chiba.

WAM said the vessel left a United Arab Emirates port earlier Friday after the damage to its starboard quarter was repaired.