Vehicle transport ship hit by explosion in Gulf of Oman


Graphic: Helios Ray Ship:

Reuters

A Bahamas-flagged ship, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security firm said on Friday.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

“Investigations are ongoing. The vessel and crew are safe,” read the UKMTO advisory notice, advising vessels in the area to exercise caution.

The incident happened at 2040 GMT, he said, but did not elaborate on a possible cause.

Maritime security firm Dryad Global said MV HELIOS RAY was a vehicle transporter owned by Helios Ray Ltd, an Israeli firm registered in the Isle of Man. The ship was heading to Singapore from Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Transportation said it had no information about an Israeli ship that had been hit in the Gulf.

A company by the name of Helios Ray Ltd is incorporated on the Isle of Man. The ship was managed by Stamco Ship Management, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed. Stamco Ship Management declined to comment when contacted by phone by Reuters.

“While the details about the incident remain unclear, it remains a realistic possibility that the event is the result of asymmetric activity by the Iranian military,” Dryad said in a report on the incident.

Refinitiv data shows that the ship has established Dubai as its current destination.

The Bahrain-based United States Navy Fifth Fleet said it was aware of the incident and was monitoring the situation.

Tensions have risen in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

Washington has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on shipping in strategic Gulf waters, including four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, in May 2019. Iran distanced itself from those attacks.

In early January, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters and detained its crew amid tensions between Tehran and the US ally Seoul over Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks due to sanctions. Americans.

In 2018, 21 million barrels per day of oil flowed through the Gulf Strait of Hormuz, equivalent to about 21% of the world’s demand for petroleum liquids at the time, according to the US Energy Information Administration. .

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