Israeli-linked oil tanker hit by 'projectile' off coast of Oman

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Nabeel Hashmi, File

An oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire has reportedly been hit by a missile in the Arabian Sea near Oman.

The attack on the Liberian-flagged Pacific Zircon happened on Tuesday night, around 240 kilometres off the coast of Oman.

The ship is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

Eastern Pacific Shipping said in a statement that the Pacific Zircon had been carrying gas oil when it was “hit by a projectile”. 

“We are in communication with the vessel and there are no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for,” the company added.

“There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress.”

According to MarineTraffic, the Pacific Zircon left Sohar in Oman on Monday and set sail for the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations also confirmed that they were aware of the incident. No one has immediately claimed responsibility.

The reported strike comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, just days ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

The incident also came hours after the US Navy claimed it had intercepted a ship carrying a hidden missile fuel component to Iran from Yemen.

In 2021, a suspected Iranian drone strike hit the Israeli-associated oil tanker Mercer Street off Oman, killing two European nationals onboard. Iran denied accusations it was responsible.

Two Greek tankers freed by Iran

On Wednesday, Greece's Merchant Ministry also confirmed reports that two seized tankers have now been released by Iran.

The Greek-flagged Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon have been held by Iranian authorities since May after Athens helped the US seize a Russian-flagged tanker carrying Iranian oil.

But Merchant Navy Minister Giannis Plakiotakis stated that the vessels have now left Iran after "months of negotiations".

"Today is a very pleasant day for our sailors, but also for Greece in general, as an unpleasant and particularly complex case came to an end," Plakiotakis said in a statement.

Most of the 50 crewmembers on board the two ships had already left the tankers. Polembros Shipping -- which manages the Prudent Warrior -- said just seven of the original crew were still on board the ship.

"We were innocent victims caught in the middle of political confrontations," the company said.

Data from MarineTraffic showed the vessels sailing away from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday.