The merchant ship 'Helios Ray', owned by an Israeli shipping company, docked for repair on February 28 in Dubai.GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP
Two crew members of an oil tanker operated by Zodiac Maritime, a company run by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer, have died in an attack on Thursday off the coast of Oman, the shipping company reported on Friday.
The two deceased are a British and a Romanian, according to a statement from Zodiac Maritime released through Twitter, in which it was not ruled out that there could be more victims.
The attack on
a Japanese-owned, Liberian-flagged mid-size oil tanker is still under investigation, according to the company that manages it.
United Kingdom Commercial Maritime Operations (UKMTO, for its acronym in English), a British entity that reports on safety in the seas, excluded that it was a piracy action, as had been pointed out at first, according to a statement cited by Reuters.
One of the largest ships of the Iranian Navy sinks due to unknown causes in the Gulf of Oman
Netanyahu accuses Iran of attack on Israeli shipowner's ship in Gulf of Oman
The ship was about 280 kilometers northeast of the Omani port of Duqm, on its route from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to the port of Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), when it was attacked, according to UKMTO, which did not provide further details. The
is now sailing towards safe destination for their own means, under the control of its crew and escorted by a warship of the US V Fleet, deployed around the Persian Gulf, reported Zodiac Maritime.
On July 3, the
, a Liberian-flagged container ship that was heading from the Saudi port of Jeddah to the Emirati port of Dubai, belonging to Zodiac Maritime, suffered material damage while sailing through the north of the Indian Ocean, in an attack with a missile. which was investigated by Israel as an alleged retaliatory action by Iran. This occurred shortly after the Tehran authorities had denounced the sabotage of facilities of the Atomic Agency in Karaj, west of the Iranian capital, in an operation that bore the stamp of the Israeli intelligence services, to paralyze production of uranium enrichment centrifuges.
Israel suspects that Iran has reactivated the hidden naval war that both countries have been waging since the beginning of the year on the Middle East trade routes and that it has caused a chain of incidents in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
The shadow conflict saw another episode in April, when another Israeli-owned freighter was exploited by adhesive mines off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Also in April, an Iranian ship allegedly serving as a naval command center for the Revolutionary Guardians in the Red Sea was immobilized in an attack that Tehran attributed to Israeli commandos.
Join EL PAÍS now to follow all the news and read without limits
One of the largest vessels in the Iranian Navy, the
sank in June in the Gulf of Oman after catching fire from unknown causes.
It was one of the few ships of the Iranian Navy capable of resupplying other ships of the fleet on the high seas, had cranes to move heavy cargo and had a helipad.
The then Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in March accused Tehran of the missile attack on the merchant ship
registered in the Bahamas by an Israeli company, in the Gulf of Oman. The attack was followed weeks later by another alleged armed action in the Arabian Sea against the
and also owned by a Haifa-based company. The American newspaper
The Wall Street Journal
had just revealed on that date that Israeli Navy commandos had sabotaged at least a dozen Iranian tankers and ships that were sailing with fuel and material susceptible of military use through Middle Eastern waters since 2019.