BAGHDAD, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi explosives experts on Saturday defused a marine mine attached to the hull of an oil tanker in the Gulf waters, the Iraqi military said.
The Iraqi explosives experts of the Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the Iraqi Navy, were able to defuse the limpet mine and launched an investigation into the incident, said a statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC).
On Friday, the JOC reportedly said in a statement that a marine mine was found on the side of the tanker on Thursday afternoon while it was fuelling another ship in the international Gulf waters about 51 km away from Iraq's oil ports.
It added that explosives experts were dispatched to the scene to defuse the limpet mine.
Early Saturday, a statement by Iraq's State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO) said that oil exports from its southern ports continued according to the planned rates despite the discovery of a marine mine on the hull of the oil tanker.
It said that the oil tanker with limpet mine is chartered by SOMO to use it as a single-point mooring (SPM) to store the black oil produced by Iraqi refineries to be loaded onto oil tankers of international companies that buy it.
The tanker has been anchored in the al-Mekhtaf area off the Iraqi port of Khor al-Zubair since Nov. 25, SOMO statement said.
The incident comes days before the first anniversary of a U.S. drone attack on a convoy near Baghdad International Airport that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, causing heightened tensions between Iran and the United States in the region. Enditem