UPDATE 1-Japan tells ships to be more vigilant in Hormuz Strait

* U.S. issued similar advisory earlier this month

* Investigation into Mitsui O.S.K. tanker incident ongoing
(Adds background)

TOKYO, Aug 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s transport ministry has
warned Japanese ships travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to
be more alert, after a tanker owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
(9104.T: ) was damaged near the waterway by a suspected explosion
last month.

The move comes after the United States this month issued a
similar advisory to vessels urging increased caution around
Hormuz, while the ship’s flag registry said on Wednesday ships
should adopt heightened vigilance when transiting the Strait.

“Ships passing through (the Strait of Hormuz) should be
sufficiently alert and need to pay attention to moves by
small-sized ships especially during transit in the night,” the
Japanese transport ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry said it issued the advisory to the Japanese
Shipowners’ Association and Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship
Association, urging them to strengthen security measures.

The M.Star tanker, operated by Mitsui O.S.K. and registered
in the Marshall Islands, was damaged last month by an apparent
explosion while travelling near the Strait, which is the gateway
to the oil-producing Gulf and handles 40 percent of the world’s
seaborne oil.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported this week that the
tanker’s radar detected a small ship that made suspicious
movements near it at the time of the incident, and that the
transport ministry believed there was a possibility that ship
launched an attack. [ID:nLDE67H1TJ]

The ministry also said in its statement on Friday that the
investigation into the incident was ongoing and that the cause of
the damage was still unknown.

The tanker is expected to arrive at a Japanese port early
next week to unload the oil it is carrying.

Industry sources said the tanker is carrying more than 2
million barrels of Qatar Land and Abu Dhabi Lower Zakum crudes,
equivalent to about half of Japan’s daily oil needs.

The incident, shortly after midnight on July 28, injured one
seaman but caused no oil spill or disruption to shipping in the
strategic waterway.
(Reporting by Chikako Mogi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

UPDATE 1-Japan tells ships to be more vigilant in Hormuz Strait