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Two tankers 'attacked' near Strait of Hormuz

A U.S. helicopter flies over the Strait of Hormuz: Tensions have been high since President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal signed by former President Barack Obama and other Western countries. © Reuters
Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said on Thursday that two ships carrying Japan-related cargoes were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz.

"I have received information that two ships loaded with Japan-related cargoes were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz. A short while ago, an emergency meeting was held within my ministry and I received a report on the situation" Seko said.

The incidents saw oil prices jump, with Brent crude futures up as much as 4.45% before retreating, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose as much as 3.85% before similarly falling, according to Reuters. Both benchmarks are still headed for a weekly loss, the news agency reported. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently in Iran and is the first Japanese leader to visit Tehran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

"I issued instructions to take the necessary measures to cope with the situation, such as issuing advisories to businesses concerned, and reaffirming the energy supply system, while continuing to work to gather information thoroughly," Seko said.

Seko made the remarks at the outset of his meeting with the chairman of the Japan Gas Association and others at around 4:00 p.m.

News of the attacks on the cargo ships come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Resource-poor Japan imports nearly all its oil from the politically volatile Middle East.