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Was Israel-connected ship hit by drone attack?

Written by Nick Blenkey
Israeli TV news says attack involved drone

I24 News cites Israeli official sources as saying attack was backed by Iran

A Liberian-flagged product tanker was today sailing under the control of its crew and with a U.S. Navy escort after being involved in an incident yesterday in which two of those on board died. The ship is the M/T Mercer Street, operated by Zodiac Maritime, a company that is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

Maritime security specialist Dryad Global says that reports by UKMTO (U.K. Maritime Trade Operations) indicated an initial attack against an unnamed vessel occurring on July 29 at 0700UTC, 86 nm SE Al Duqm Port. An additional report was later circulated indicating a second attack at 2340 UTC. Vessels were advised to avoid the area.

Interestingly, UKMTO characterized the incident as an “Attack – Non Piracy”

Zodiac Maritime issued a statement at 7.30 a.m. London time today that said:

Maritime security specialist Dryad Global says that reports by UKMTO (U.K. Maritime Trade Operations) indicated an initial attack against an unnamed vessel occurring on July 29 at 0700UTC, 86 nm SE Al Duqm Port. An additional report was later circulated indicating a second attack at 2340 UTC. Vessels were advised to avoid the area.

Interestingly, UKMTO characterized the incident as an “Attack – Non Piracy.”

Zodiac Maritime issued a statement at 7.30 a.m. London time today that said:

“We can confirm that there has been a suspected Piracy incident onboard the product tanker M/T Mercer Street. The ship is a Japanese owned vessel managed by our UK based Zodiac Maritime Office. At the time of the incident the vessel was in the northern Indian Ocean, traveling from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah with no cargo onboard. We are in coordination and liaising with the UK MTO and other relevant authorities.”

In an updated statement at 1.00 p.m. London time, Zodiac said:

“With profound sadness, we understand the incident onboard the M/T Mercer Street on 29 July, 2021 has resulted in the deaths of two crew members onboard: a Romanian national and a U.K. national. We are not aware of harm to any other personnel. Our primary concern remains the safety and wellbeing of everyone onboard and all those affected by the situation. Details of the incident are still being established and an investigation into the incident is currently underway. We continue to work closely with the UKMTO and other relevant authorities. We have no additional details to share at this time.”

At 2.00 p.m. time Zodiac said:

“We can now confirm that the M/T Mercer Street is sailing under the control of her crew and under her own power at 14 knots to a safe location with a U.S. naval escort.”

Israeli media are not buying that “piracy incident” tag, quoting unnamed officials as saying that the incident was an Iranian-backed attack employing a drone and identifying the Romanian who died as the ship’s captain and the U.K. national as a member of an embarked armed security team..

Dryad Global says that this latest attack has the hallmarks of the ongoing Israel / Iran “shadow war” that has seen an exchange in attacks against vessels associated with each state.

You can read the rest of the Dryad analysis HERE.

Categories: News, Safety and Security, ShippingTags: Dryad Global, U.S. Navy, Zodiac Maritime
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Read source:  https://www.marinelog.com/shipping/was-israel-connected-ship-hit-by-drone-attack/

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