Ships owned by companies in Norway and Singapore were reportedly attacked near the Strait of Hormuz. Diplomatic tensions are high in the region following attacks on four vessels last month.
The United States Fifth Fleet responded to attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
“US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time and a second one at 7:00 a.m.,” the statement said.
“US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”
One of the ships involved was the Front Altair, a Norwegian-owned tanker that was being chartered by Taiwan’s state-owned CPC Corp, the CEO of CPC’s petrochemical division, Wul-Fang, told Reuters.
The ship was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, “when it was suspected of being hit by a torpedo,” he said.
A spokesman for Frontline, the company that owns Front Altair, told Norwegian newspaper VG that the vessel was still on fire and that all 23 crew members were in safety after abandoning ship.
Singapore’s BSM Management said in a statement that its Kokuka Courageous tanker had been damaged in an unspecified “security incident” while it was transporting methanol.
All 21 crew members abandoned ship and one member was slightly injured. The ship was not in danger of sinking, it added.
The reported attacks come amid heightened regional tensions following attacks on four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May. The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran, which dismissed the accusation.