Convoy Passes Oil Platform U.S. Wrecked

Associated Press

A convoy of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers and American warships steamed south Wednesday, past an Iranian oil platform destroyed Monday by U.S. Navy guns.

The escorted convoy is expected to complete the 550-mile trip out of the gulf today. It is the 12th such operation in the three months since U.S. warships began escorting Kuwaiti-owned tankers, registered in the United States and flying American flags, to protect them from Iranian attack.

Iran last year began attacking ships owned by or serving Kuwait. The Iranians accuse Kuwait of receiving arms for Iraq, and of otherwise aiding Iran’s enemy.


The reflagged supertanker Bridgeton hit a mine July 24, and the reflagged tanker Sea Isle City was badly damaged by an Iranian missile last week near Kuwait’s main oil terminal.

Shipping sources Wednesday reported hearing an explosion off southern Kuwait, near the Mina Saud oil port, but said they did not know the cause.

In reporting the explosion, a shipping agent in Kuwait said he heard reports of power failures in the area. An “information blackout” appeared to be in effect.

The convoy that left Kuwait’s main oil terminal Tuesday, the Pentagon said, includes the 79,999-ton oil products carrier Ocean City and the 46,723-ton liquefied gas carrier Gas King, escorted by the missile frigate Ford with other warships nearby.

The damaged Sea Isle City and the Gas Princess, which was not fully loaded when the other ships sailed, were left behind at Kuwait.

A U.S. Navy spokesman on the amphibious landing ship Raleigh said U.S. forces detected no unusual Iranian activity in the gulf.


According to a press pool report from the ship, Sea Stallion helicopters from the amphibious assault ship Guadalcanal were trawling for mines in southern waters, ahead of the convoy’s passage through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman.

The route down the gulf took the convoy past Iran’s Rostam oil field, where an oil platforms were destroyed in retaliation for last week’s missile strike on the Sea Isle City. The tanker’s American captain, John Hunt, and 17 other crewmen were wounded.