The crew reported safety and the ship was heading for the nearest port, with the circumstances of the explosion still uncertain.
An explosion hit an Israeli-owned ship near the strategic mouth of the Gulf, the United Kingdom’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security company said on Friday.
The crew and ship were safe, according to UKMTO, which is operated by the British Navy. The explosion forced the Bahamian-flagged vessel MV Helios Ray to head for the nearest port.
The incident occurred at 8:40 p.m. GMT Thursday, the UKMTO said, but gave no details of a possible cause.
“Ships passing through the area are advised to exercise caution,” he said.
The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet of the US Navy was “aware and monitoring” the situation, Commander Rebecca Rebarich told the Associated Press. She declined to immediately comment further.
The British Maritime Organization gave the ship the last position off Muscat, the capital of Oman.
Maritime security firm Dryad Global said the MV Helios Ray was a vehicle transporter owned by Helios Ray Ltd, an Israeli company registered in the Isle of Man. The ship was en route to Singapore from Dammam in Saudi Arabia.
While the circumstances of the blast remain uncertain, Dryad Global said the blast could have stemmed from “asymmetric Iranian military activity”, which it said would be “proportionate” to increased regional tensions.
Israel’s transport ministry said it was not aware of the incident.
As Iran seeks to pressure the United States to lift sanctions and revert to the 2015 nuclear deal, the country may seek to “exercise forceful diplomacy through military means,” the government said. Dryad report.
Iran did not immediately recognize the incident.
Alleged attacks on tankers
In the summer of 2019, amid sharply rising tensions between Iran and the administration of former President Donald Trump, the US military accused Iran of alleged attacks on two tankers near the Straits of ‘Hormuz, one of the most strategic shipping routes in the world. .
The explosions came after the United States attributed a series of clashes in the region to Iran, including the use of limpet mines – designed to be magnetically attached to a ship’s hull – to attack four tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah, and the bombing. an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed fighters.
Tensions between nations escalated after Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018 and the reimposition of severe sanctions against Iran. In response, Iran has gradually and publicly violated the nuclear deal with world powers to create leverage on Washington to return to the deal, which saw Tehran agree to limit its uranium enrichment in return for the lifting of sanctions. paralyzing.