An oil tanker was struck by a suspected drone off the coast of Oman, officials said
The Liberian-flagged tanker is a vessel of Eastern Pacific Shipping, a Singapore-based shipping company owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
The Pacific Zircon, as the tanker is called, was “hit by a projectile approximately 150 miles off the coast of Oman… on 15 November,” the Eastern Pacific Shipping company said in a statement.
The Gulf of Oman is one of the most important shipping routes for the world’s oil supply.
There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress.
Israel, US accuse Iran
Israel later on Wednesday accused Iran of launching a drone attack on the oil tanker.
An Israeli official told DPA news agency that the attack was “part of Iranian efforts to destabilize the region,” calling it a “provocation” linked to the World Cup in Qatar.
The US accused on Wednesday Iran of being responsible for the attack.
“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing directly and via its proxies throughout the Middle East and proliferating to Russia for use in Ukraine,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a White House statement.
Sullivan condemned the attack and stressed that it was unjustifiable. He vowed that the US, alongside partners, would work on holding Iran responsible as well as responding “through appropriate means.”
“This action further threatens freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved,” Sullivan said.
Iranian news website Nournews, considered to be close to the country’s Supreme National Security Council, later accused Israel of carrying out the attack.
Oil Products Tanker PACIFIC ZIRCON is currently located at AG – Oman Gulf at position 24° 36′ 54.9″ N, 056° 37′ 45.9″ E as reported by MarineTraffic Terrestrial Automatic Identification System on 2022-11-14 10:16 UTC (4 days, 1 hour ago)
The vessel departed from SOHAR, OM on 2022-11-14 13:50 LT (UTC +4) and is currently sailing at 11.8 knots with North direction heading to BUENOS AIRES, AR with reported Estimated Time of Arrival at 2022-12-12 21:00 LT (UTC +4) local time (in 24 days, 5 hours)
PACIFIC ZIRCON (IMO: 9539573) is a Oil Products Tanker that was built in 2013 (9 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Liberia.
It’s carrying capacity is 49995 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 11.5 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 182.5 meters and her width is 32.2 meters
rm, rmt, los/fb (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)+ Marine Traffic