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Japan oil tanker attacked off Yemen

Monday, April 21, 2008

TOKYO —  An unidentified ship fired on a Japanese oil tanker Monday off the eastern coast of Yemen, leaving a hole from which hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked, the ship's operator said. No one was injured.

The 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the coast of Aden in southwestern Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia, its Japanese operator, Nippon Yusen K.K., said in a statement.

None of its 23 crew members _ seven Japanese and 16 Filipinos _ was injured, the company said. The tanker had left the South Korean port of Ulsan on April 4.

Nippon Yusen spokeswoman Yuko Tsutsui said the attack left a 1-inch hole in the tanker's stern which was temporarily patched after hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked.

She said the tanker was heading to Aden for repairs, and its itinerary could change depending on the extent of the damage.

Yukio Yamashita, a Transport Ministry official in charge of crisis management, said the area is considered prone to pirate attacks.

He said the unknown attacker had left the scene.

Kyodo News agency said the tanker was hit by a rocket fired from a small boat.

No other details were immediately available.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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