France Believes Tanker Attack Work of Terrorists

A day after U.S. and French experts found fiberglass debris from what could have been an attacker's boat, France made clear it expected Yemen to find and punish those responsible if the explosion on the Limburg was the work of terrorists.

In the strongest statement Paris has made on the blast, President Jacques Chirac's spokeswoman said: "France will not let itself be intimidated. "Mounting indications show that the hypothesis of a terrorist attack is very plausible today," she said in a statement. "If it was an attack, the president expects the Yemeni authorities to do everything so that the people responsible for it are identified and punished."

The Limburg's owners, Euronav SA, quoted crew members as saying the blast occurred shortly after a small boat was seen speeding toward the tanker as it waited for a tug to take it to Mina al-Dabah near Mukalla, about 500 miles from Sanaa. A Lloyds report said photographs of the 26-ft wide, oval-shaped hole in the Limburg with its jagged metal edge facing inwards supported claims of a deliberate attack.