MANAMA, BAHRAIN, JAN. 29 -- Four seamen were killed when Iraqi jets attacked a tanker and a tugboat in the Persian Gulf earlier this week, shipping sources said today.
Iraq, meanwhile, reported that its jets scored a direct hit on a commercial vessel again today, the fifth air strike on an oil tanker in the gulf this week. Shipping executives said the target was believed to be a tanker in the northern gulf.
The shipping officials said an attack Wednesday by Iraqi jets firing Exocet missiles on an Iranian-chartered oil tanker and a salvage tug left four persons dead.
Michael Mourtzinon, spokesman for the London-based owners of the 225,688-ton Cypriot tanker Coral Cape, said in a telephone interview that two South Korean officers were killed and four crew members were wounded in the Iraqi missile attack on the tanker.
Other shipping officials said a British officer and a Filipino engineer aboard a Singapore-flagged tugboat leading the Coral Cape and other vessels in a convoy through the gulf died in the attack.
A Foreign Office spokesman in London, asked about the death of the British officer of the 742-ton salvage tug Salverve, said, "We think this is correct but we are checking."
The Coral Cape was steaming between Lavan and Iran's Kharg Island oil terminal at the northern end of the gulf, when it was hit, the sources said.
A statement from the Navy's Central Command at Tampa, Fla., said the guided-missile frigate USS Moore was accompanying the U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tanker Chestnut Hill on its journey from the central gulf south to the Strait of Hormuz.
Another frigate, the USS Mount Vernon, "left for home Friday but it is tagging along with the convoy," the statement said.