A typical attack on a tanker is recounted
by Captain Bruce Ewen, master at the time of the 412,000 dwt World Petrobras
which was bombed by Iraqi jets on 22 December 1987.
At the time the tanker was providing floating storage off Iran's Larak Island
in the northern part of the Strait of Hormuz.
Two Russian made 500 lb bombs with parachute drogues attached
dropped onto the maindeck during the attack by Mirage jets,
which also hit two other tankers off the island.
World Petrobras was at the time transferring oil
from one tanker, Free Enterprise, into another, British Respect.
``When the bombs struck,'' Ewen recalls, ``the rubber hoses
attaching us to the British Respect were set afire
and a large amount of shrapnel from our deck fittings
blew through the side of the British Respect.
Since we were both inerted and had our inert gas plants running,
an explosion was avoided.
However, we needed to get British Respect away from us
so we could get firefighting tugs alongside.''
``We cut her aft ropes and her master went ahead on the engines
and ran the forward ropes off the reels.
When she parted the hoses, a large amount of oil
was dumped into the water which caused a large fire
and set the rubber fenders ablaze.
Although this rendered our lifeboat and the liferaft
on the port side beyond use,
the current was fairly quick
so the danger passed in a fairly short time.''