The official says the tanker was hit by a drone carrying bombs off the coast of Oman

An oil tanker related to an Israeli billionaire was hit by a drone carrying bombs off the coast of Oman amid heightened tensions with Iran, an official advised the Related Press Wednesday.

The assault on the Liberian-flagged tanker Pacific Zircon occurred Tuesday night time off the coast of Oman, the Center East-based protection official stated. The official spoke on situation of anonymity as he didn’t have authorization to debate the assault publicly.

United Kingdom Maritime Commerce Operations, a British army group within the area that displays the shipments, advised the AP: “We’re conscious of an incident and it’s presently being investigated.”

Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Japanese Pacific Transport, an organization owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

In an announcement, Japanese Pacific Transport stated the Pacific Zircon, which was carrying diesel, was “hit by a bullet” about 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the coast of Oman.

“We’re in communication with the ship and there are not any experiences of accidents or air pollution. All crew members are protected and registered,” the corporate stated. “There’s some minor harm to the vessel’s hull, however no cargo spillage or water infiltration.”

A cellphone name to the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi went unanswered. The Israeli prime minister’s workplace and his protection ministry declined to remark.

Oil costs rose barely as information of the assault broke, with benchmark Brent crude buying and selling above $94 a barrel.

Whereas nobody instantly claimed duty for the assault, suspicion instantly fell on Iran. Tehran and Israel have been engaged in a shadow warfare within the broader Center East for years, with some drone strikes concentrating on Israel-associated vessels touring within the area.

America additionally blamed Iran for a collection of assaults off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Tehran had then begun to ramp up its nuclear program following the unilateral withdrawal of the US from its nuclear cope with the world powers.

In 2021, a suspected Iranian drone strike struck the Israel-associated tanker Mercer Road off Oman, killing two on board.

Iranian state media didn’t instantly acknowledge the assault on the Pacific Zircon. It wasn’t instantly clear the place the ship was on Wednesday. Satellite tv for pc monitoring knowledge late Tuesday supplied by positioned the vessel deep within the Arabian Sea after leaving the Omani port of Sohar.

After the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal, non-proliferation specialists warn the Islamic Republic now has sufficient enriched uranium to make at the very least one nuclear weapon, if it needs to, at the same time as Tehran insists its program is peaceable.

Iran has additionally lashed out at its supposed enemies overseas amid months of nationwide protests now difficult its theocracy.

It additionally comes a number of days earlier than the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Whereas Doha maintains good relations with Tehran, with which it shares an enormous offshore pure fuel subject, the Israelis will take part within the event. The Iranian nationwide workforce can even face Nice Britain and the US in first-round matches, two nations accused of fomenting the unrest.

Related Press writers Tia Goldenberg and Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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