An Israeli vessel apparently travelling from Saudi Arabia to Singapore was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, maritime security groups said Friday, adding there were no casualties.
The MV Helios Ray vehicle carrier “suffered an explosion within the Gulf of Oman”, the Dryad Global maritime security group said.
The vessel was understood to have been travelling from Dammam, a port city in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, to Singapore when the blast occurred Thursday northwest of Oman, it said.
“The MV HELIOS RAY is owned by HELIOS Ltd an Israeli company registered in the Isle of Man,” it added.
“The crew are understood to be uninjured. The vessel appears to be returning to (its) port of origin,” Dryad said.
United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) also reported the blast and said that the vessel, which it did not identify, and the crew were “safe”.
“Investigations are ongoing,” UKMTO said.
The Marine Traffic website said the Bahamas-flagged vessel had left Dammam on Wednesday and was due to arrive in Singapore next week.
Dryad suggested Iran could be behind the blast, noting the incident comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Islamic republic.
“Whilst details regarding the incident remain unclear it remains a realistic possibility that the event was the result of asymmetric activity by Iranian military,” it said.
“Tensions between Israel and Iran remain fraught, especially in light of increased signs of rapprochement between Iran and the Biden administration,” Dryad said.
“Increasingly Iran is also becoming fearful of improving relations between Israel and the Gulf states,” it added in reference to recent normalisation deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
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