An oil tanker was hit by an explosive drone off the coast of Oman

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The Pacific Zircon, linked to an Israeli billionaire, was hit by a shell, a defense official says, at a time of heightened tensions with Iran

An oil tanker was hit by an explosive drone off the coast of Oman

The Pacific Zircon (via Reuters)

A product tanker loaded with diesel fuel was apparently hit by a shell while sailing in the Gulf of Oman >, which caused only minor material damage, reported this Wednesday the operating company of the vessel, Eastern Pacific Shipping. Israel singled out Iran for the attack, saying it was carried out with the same drones Russia uses in Ukraine.

“Preliminary information indicates that the ship, which is carrying a cargo of diesel oil, was hit by a shell approximately 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the coast of Oman,” the oil company said in a statement. Singapore-based shipping company ultimately owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

The affected vessel, identified as “Pacific Zircon”, registered “some minor damage” to hull from impact, but crew uninjuredand there has been no spillage of spillage into the sea, nor any water ingress to the vessel.

Eastern Pacific Shipping is investigating the incident and remains in Contact product tanker, per note.

The attack on the Liberian-flagged tanker occurred late Tuesday off the coast of Oman, said a Middle East defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was authorized to discuss the matter publicly. He said he was hit by a drone armed with explosives.

An oil tanker was hit by an explosive drone off the coast of Oman

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon operated by Singaporean Eastern Pacific Shipping (AP)

This Gulf and the neighboring Persian Gulf have been the scene of various incidents in recent years, such as acts of sabotage against oil tankers and cargo ships, some of them by placing limpet mines in the hulls of ships, and even boardings and kidnappings.

Washington and several Gulf Arab countries regularly denounce Tehran's actions in this particularly strategic maritime zone, an almost exclusive waterway to connect the region's oil-producing countries.

Israel targeted Iran

An Israeli official told AFP the attack on the tanker was “an Iranian provocation” intended to “disturb the atmosphere” ahead of the inauguration of the soccer World Cup in Qatar on Sunday.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the attack was carried out with the “same drones that the Iranians are selling to the Russians for use in the Ukraine…the Shahed 136,” an unmanned aircraft equipped with a warhead. .

The Israeli official dismissed suggestions that the attack on the ship, partly owned by Idan Ofer, amounted to “an Iranian victory” against Israel.

“It is not an Israeli tanker,” the official said.

Iran and Israel are bitter enemies and a “shadow war” between the two powers has seen a series of attacks on ships on both sides who have blamed each other.

On 29 In July 2021, Iran was blamed for a drone attack on an Israel-linked oil tanker sailing off the coast of Oman, the MV Mercer Street, which killed a former British soldier and a Romanian citizen.

Iranian state media did not immediately report the attack on Pacific Zircon. It was not immediately clear where it was on Wednesday, but satellite tracking data Tuesday night compiled by MarineTraffic.com put the tanker in the heart of the Arabian Sea after leaving the Omani port of Sohar.

< p class="paragraph">The US Navy's Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, told AFP it was “aware of the incident.” UK Maritime Trade Operations, a British shipping organization, also said it was informed.

Just yesterday, the Fifth Fleet announced that it had intercepted a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman that was transporting chemicals for the manufacture of explosives and missiles to Yemen, assuring that the ship came from Iran.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose on Wednesday, erasing their previous losses, after The commercial ship incident off the coast of Oman was reported, but rising COVID-19 cases in China limited gains.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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