Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Oil tanker hit by drone off gulf of Oman

An oil tanker said to be associated with an Israeli billionaire has been targeted by a bomb-carrying drone off the coast of Oman, an official has told The Associated Press.

The attack happened on Tuesday night off the coast of Oman, the Mideast-based defence official stated. The official spoke on Wednesday on condition of anonymity as they did not have authorisation to discuss the attack publicly.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British military organisation in the region monitoring shipping, told the AP, “We are aware of an incident and it’s being investigated at this time.”

The official identified the vessel attacked as the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon. That tanker is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is a company ultimately owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

In a statement, Eastern Pacific Shipping announced the Pacific Zircon, carrying gas oil, had been “hit by a projectile” some 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the coast of Oman.

“We are in communication with the vessel and there is no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for,” the company said.

“There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress,” it added.

The United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet is aware of an incident in the Gulf of Oman involving a commercial vessel, Commander Timothy Hawkins told Reuters on Wednesday.

The United States blamed Iran for a series of attacks occurring off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Tehran denies those allegations.

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