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Oil Tanker Hit By Projectile Offshore Oman

An oil tanker carrying gas oil was hit by a projectile in the Gulf of Oman, the shipping company operating the vessel said on Wednesday.  

Eastern Pacific Shipping, a Singapore-based firm ultimately owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, said in a media statement that the tanker, Pacific Zircon, was hit by a projectile approximately 150 miles off the coast of Oman on the afternoon of November 15.

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

There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress, Eastern Pacific Shipping added.

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The oil tanker was hit by a bomb-carrying drone, a Middle East-based official told The Associated Press on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British military organization in the region monitoring shipping, told the AP: “We are aware of an incident and it’s being investigated at this time.”

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is aware of an incident taking place on Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman involving a commercial vessel, Commander Timothy Hawkins told Reuters.

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Although no one has claimed responsibility for the hit, suspicion fell on Iran amid heightened tensions with Israel, CBS News reported.

This is not the first time an oil tanker has been hit offshore Oman, with suspicion falling on Iran.

Last year, the Mercer Street tanker was attacked with drones off the Omani coast. Israel, the UK, and the United States were quick to blame Iran for the attack. The UK and U.S. also said they were preparing a concerted response to the attack.

Iran has responded to the accusations by saying it would deliver a “strong and crushing” military response to any hostile move against it.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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