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M.T. Gentle Breeze 22nd Sept 1987 - attacked by Iranian gunboat took 19 RPG hits. The outstanding crew extinguished the fire which engulfed the entire accomodation, then followed up the recovery actions. The ship was towed to Bahrain and eventually restored and came back into service as the M.T. Marksman.

British PM Margaret Thatcher protested to the UN Security Council and shut down the Iranian arms procurement office in London. US and UK took joint military action against Iranian ships laying mines in the gulf.

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September 22, 1987|By James O`Shea, Chicago Tribune. Tribune correspondent George de Lama in New York contributed to this report.
Shipping sources in the gulf region and Lloyd`s Shipping Intelligence Unit in London said the attack about three hours earlier on the British-flag Gentle Breeze occurred as the tanker was sailing empty from Tanzania to Kuwait. They said the attack took place about 20 miles west of Al Farsiyah, a small island used by Iranian Revolutionary Guards for speedboat attacks against neutral shipping.

Lloyd`s said the vessel, operated by Wallam Ship Management Ltd. of Hong Kong, radioed a Mayday message that it had been attacked by an ``Iranian missile boat`` and that its crew`s sleeping quarters were on fire. Lloyd`s said the fire was reported to be under control and the ship was in no danger of sinking.

Lloyd`s sometimes uses the term ``missile`` to refer to rocket-propelled grenades fired by the Iranian speedboat commandos.

A 38-year-old Filipino crewman was killed in the attack and several others among the 33 Indian and Filipino crew members suffered cuts and bruises, according to the tanker`s captain, V.M. Soman, who spoke via radio to Aswin Atre, managing director of Wallam. Atre said the Gentle Breeze is a 102,799-ton vessel that can carry ore and oil.

The gulf sources identifed the Gentle Breeze as a 102,799-ton tanker, but Lloyd`s said it was a 57,462-ton bulk ore carrier.

Though the British navy escorts British-flag vessels in the southern gulf, it doesn`t normally accompany them past Bahrain. The attack occurred about 100 miles north of Bahrain.