Publish date27 Feb 2021 - 13:06
Story Code : 494612

Blast hits Israeli ship in Oman Sea

Israeli-owned ship has reportedly been hit by an explosion in the Sea of Oman leading to damages to its haul.
Blast hits Israeli ship in Oman Sea
Reuters cited a US defense official as saying that the ship, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion above the water line overnight on Thursday.

It allegedly suffered holes in both sides of its hull.

The cause of the explosion was not clear.

Israel’s Kan broadcaster quoted the ship’s owner, Rami Ungar, as saying, “The damage is two holes, diameter approximately 1.5 meters,” adding that the cause of the blast was unclear. “There is no damage to the engine, and no casualties among the crew.”

The vessel, believed to be a Bahaman-flagged roll-on, roll-off vehicle carrier, was forced to turn back towards a port, reports said.

Photos circulating on Twitter on Friday showed apparent damage to the ship.

The vehicle-carrier ship is owned by a Tel Aviv-based company called Ray Shipping through a firm registered in the Isle of Man, according to a United Nations (UN) shipping database.

According to satellite-tracking data from MarineTraffic.com, the vessel had departed from the Saudi city of Dammam on Wednesday and was reportedly was due in Singapore on March 5. 

According to the tracking data, the ship was about to enter the Arabian Sea at around 10 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Friday, but it suddenly shifted course, heading in the direction of the Strait of Hormuz.

The vessel was still in the Sea of Oman and had not reached a port or the strait by 1600 GMT, and Singapore was still listed as the destination on its tracker, according to the tracking website.

Other reports said, however, that the ship diverted to a port in Dubai in order to assess the damage.

In an advisory notice on Friday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is run by the British navy and provides information on maritime incidents, said the incident occurred at 2040 GMT on Thursday, claiming that the “vessel and crew are safe.”

The UKMTO added that investigations were underway, calling on vessels in the area to exercise caution. It gave no details about a possible cause.

The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said it was “aware and monitoring” the situation, declining to comment further.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Israeli transportation ministry said it had no information about an Israeli vessel having been struck in the Sea of Oman.
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