Israeli-owned ship hit by explosion in Gulf

An Israeli-owned ship, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman overnight Thursday and a U.S. defense official said the blast left holes in both sides of the vessel’s hull. The cause was not immediately clear.

The vehicle-carrier ship is owned by a Tel-Aviv based company called Ray Shipping through a company registered in the Isle of Man, according to a U.N. shipping database.

“Investigations are ongoing. Vessel and crew are safe,” the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said in an advisory notice on Friday. It urged vessels in the area to exercise caution.

The U.S. defense official told Reuters in Washington that the ship was hit by a blast above the water line that ripped holes in both sides of its hull.

Israel’s Kan broadcaster named the ship’s owner as Rami Ungar and quoted him as saying: “The damage is two holes, diameter approximately 1.5 meters, but it is not yet clear to us if this was caused by missile fire or mines that were attached to the ship.

“There is no damage to the engine and no casualties among the crew. We have no idea whether this was an incident that was part of the tensions between Iran and the United States and whether there is a link to the fact the ship’s owner is Israeli,” Kan reported Ungar as having said.


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