Israel, US point at Iran after ‘projectile’ hits tanker off Oman


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Pacific Zircon was “hit by a projectile approximately 150 miles off the coast of Oman,” says shipping firm that operates the vessel, owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and bound for Buenos Aires.

Tanker Pacific Zircon is seen at sea near Isle of Wright, Britain in this undated handout picture.
(Reuters Archive)

Israel and the United States have blamed Iran after what they said was a drone strike against a tanker operated by an Israeli-owned firm carrying gas oil off the coast of Oman. Tehran didn’t immediately comment on the allegations. The Pacific Zircon was “hit by a projectile approximately 150 miles off the coast of Oman” on Tuesday, Singapore-based firm Eastern Pacific Shipping, which operates the vessel, said in a statement, adding that there were no reports of casualties or any leakage of the cargo.”There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress,” said the company which is owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer — one of two sons of shipping magnate Sammy Ofer, who died in 2011.The tanker was carrying 42,000 tonnes of gas oil and bound for Buenos Aires, according to Samir Madani, co-founder of the website TankerTrackers.com, an oil shipping online research firm.

Iran and Israel are bitter foes and a “shadow war” between the two powers has seen a spate of attacks on ships from both sides that they have blamed on each other.
(TRTWorld)

Shahed 136 drone The Bahrain-based United States Fifth Fleet said it was “aware of the incident”.US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan later said the White House was “confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV”.An Israeli official told the AFP news agency that the strike on the tanker was “an Iranian provocation”.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 Ukraine … the Shahed 136,” an unmanned aircraft equipped with a warhead.The Israeli official dismissed suggestions that the strike on the vessel 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 foes and a “shadow war” between the two powers has seen a spate of attacks on ships from both sides that they have blamed on each other.
Oil tanker struck by a bomb-carrying drone off the coast of Oman sustained minor damage to the hull with no injuries – Israeli-controlled Eastern Pacific Shipping pic.twitter.com/qNPPp8kqDC— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) November 16, 2022

Nuclear dealIran and world powers have engaged in on-off talks to revive a landmark 2015 deal that sought to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.The United States, Britain, France and Germany have submitted a motion to the UN nuclear watchdog censuring Iran for lack of cooperation with the agency, diplomats told AFP this week.”The risk of attacks against shipping and energy infrastructure in the wider region is rising mainly due to the lack of progress in US-Iranian nuclear diplomacy,” said Torbjorn Soltvedt, Middle East analyst with the Verisk Maplecroft risk intelligence company.
Source: AFP


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