Iranian gunboats Saturday raided a Japanese-operated tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, setting it ablaze and leaving it "dead in the water," shipping executives said.
It was the sixth attack in a week in the re-ignited Iran-Iraq "tanker war."
The executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of the Korean crew abandoned the 12,467-ton Rainbow when a fierce fire broke out after it was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns in the southern entrance of the Persian Gulf. There were no reports of injury.
But they said the fire was later extinguished and the crew was expected to return to the Liberian-flag chemical tanker, loaded with highly flammable methanol from a gulf Arab port.
The French navy said two of its warships rescued the crew, which asked for help after the attack. It did not say how many crewmen were involved.