June 14, 2019 / 11:10 AM / 3 days ago

UPDATE 1-Iran sends team to tanker in Gulf to see if rescued crew can return -Tasnim

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DUBAI, June 14 (Reuters) - Iran said on Friday it had dispatched experts to one oil tanker from which it rescued crew members from a fire caused by an attack to see whether they could now return to the vessel.

The European Union has called for maximum restraint amid mounting tensions over U.S. accusations against Iran over attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks.

“Fire has been contained on both tankers ... We have sent experts to evaluate whether the crew rescued by Iran can return to (one) tanker,” Allahmorad Afifipour, head of ports in the Iranian coastal province of Hormozgan, told Tasnim news agency.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA had reported on Thursday that Iranian search and rescue teams picked up 44 sailors from the two damaged tankers, and that they had been taken to the Iranian Gulf port of Bandar Jask.

However, U.S. Central Command said 21 crew of the Japanese-owned Kokuka tanker were collected by a Dutch tug and transferred to the destroyer USS Bainbridge.

Iranian TV channels showed footage of 23 rescued rew members and said 11 of them were Russian, 11 Filipino and one Georgian. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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