Frontline Ltd. (the “Company” or “Frontline”) provides an update on the LR2 tanker Front Altair. On the morning of June 13, at approximately 0500 hrs gmt, an explosion occurred on the Front Altair shortly after the vessel had passed through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
Most importantly, the 23 crew members onboard the Front Altair are unharmed after being rescued by the cargo vessel Hyundai Dubai and subsequently carried by an Iranian naval vessel to the port city of Jask. We commend our highly-trained crew, the vessel master and ship managers, for following protocol and operating according to the highest standard during this distressing and very serious incident. Frontline is profoundly grateful to all parties who have contributed to ensuring the safety of our colleagues.
Frontline was able to deploy emergency responders in a timely manner, who extinguished fire on the vessel within hours of the incident and ensured no pollution resulted. Contrary to media reports, the vessel remains afloat and is being attended to by a salvage vessel. The Company’s modern vessels are designed to withstand catastrophic events in order to ensure the safety of crew and cargo. A rescue tug equipped with towing capability reached the Front Altair at noon on June 14 and two further support vessels will arrive on scene on June 15 with a specialist team to inspect the tanker and make recommendations.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown to the Company, although we have ruled out the possibility that it was caused by mechanical or human error. The incident will be thoroughly investigated by the Company along with third parties, including governmental officials, to determine the cause.
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most densely trafficked sea routes in the world and serves as the passageway for greater than 25% of the world’s seaborne crude oil. As geopolitical tensions rise in the Persian Gulf, the Company is intensely focused on the safety of our colleagues in this region. Until further information is received regarding the cause of the explosion and the security of this important shipping lane is secured, Frontline will exercise extreme caution when considering new contracts in the region and the Company will consider all possible measures to insure the safety of our vessels currently operating in the area. The Company is consulting with regional security experts to ensure the safety of our crew, our vessels and our cargo.