MANAMA, BAHRAIN, FEB. 12 (FRIDAY) -- Iran attacked a Danish supertanker in the Persian Gulf at dawn today, setting it afire and injuring three crewmen, gulf shipping executives said.
They identifed the vessel as the 339,000-ton Kate Maersk and said the fire was put out by the crew. The tanker was dead in the water and may have suffered some engine room damage, said one source. Salvage tugboats were rushing to help.
The executives could not say whether the onslaught was by gunboat or helicopter.
The Kate Maersk was the second vessel attacked by Iran in two days. Yesterday, the Norwegian supertanker Happy Kari was raided in the southern gulf by an Iranian frigate.
Yesterday's attack came as Iran marked the ninth anniversary of its Islamic revolution with huge parades and as Iraq reported sending "waves" of jets to make "devastating raids" on economic and industrial targets in Iran.
Iraq also said its helicopter gunships attacked and sank two Iranian boats that tried to approach a military monitoring post in the northern gulf. The report was carried by official Baghdad radio.
Iran and Iraq have been at war since September 1980.
Kanoo, the Dubai-based agent for the Danish supertanker, said it was looking for helicopters to airlift the injured to shore. He added that there was no radio contact with the ship and the only information on its condition came from other vessels in the vicinity.
The executives said the raid took place about 4 a.m. and was farther north than where Iran usually attacks ships.
They said the attack was closer to Iran's offshore oil fields of Sassan than to the Strait of Hormuz, where Iranian gunboats often carry out raids.
Today's attack brought to 11 the number of commercial ships caught this year in the spillover of the Iran-Iraq war to the oil shipping lanes.