Officials with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the firm that owns the tanker, think "a blast" of some kind struck the ship, but they don't know what. The natural, and most troubling, conclusion to jump to is a waterborne terrorist attack along the lines of the one that ended the film Syriana--something Al Qaeda has attempted in the past.
But the Times says U.S. officials are skeptical, because the damage is more consistent with a collision of some sort than an explosion. But the crew reported no collision.
What about a submarine? "Most officials dismissed the idea of a collision with a submarine," the Times says, "because no damaged sub is known to have surfaced. American officials reported no collision with United States submarines in the region."
A "rogue wave," as officials in Iran and Oman have suggested? The damage is too severe. One likely explanation floated by the Times is a collision with a dysfunctional mine. The Strait was mined during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, and an old mine may have failed to detonate completely, causing a pressure blast that could damage the hull without destroying the ship.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/wh ... 5lYXJseXB1
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