The United States suggested that the attack that targeted the Pacific Zircon oil tanker off the coast of Oman was carried out by an Iranian drone.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said: “In light of the available information, we are confident that Iran was most likely involved in this attack using a drone.”
An oil tanker was hit by a missile off the coast of Oman on Tuesday evening, which caused minor damage to the hull of the tanker.
The accident did not cause any human injuries, nor did the cargo that was carrying the Pacific Zircon tanker leak, according to what was announced on Wednesday by the management of the Eastern Pacific Shipping Company, the owner of the tanker.
The Singapore-based company, Eastern Pacific, is owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
Eastern Pacific said it was investigating the incident, which occurred about 245 km off the coast of Oman.
The navigation company added: “Initial reports indicate that the tanker…was subjected to missile strikes…and the ship’s hull was slightly damaged, but there was no leakage of the oil cargo it was carrying, nor did water leak into the ship.”
A spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet, Timothy Hawkins, had previously told Reuters news agency that they were aware of an accident in the Gulf of Oman involving a commercial tanker, without disclosing further details.
Western media quoted an Israeli official as saying that Iran was responsible for carrying out the attack with a Shahed-136 drone, the same model that Iran provided Russia for the latter to use in its war on Ukraine.
Iranian media accused Israel of carrying out the attack. The state-affiliated Noor News Agency said that the “Hebrew-Arab axis” targeted (through the attack) to “charge the air” ahead of the World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar next Sunday.
In recent years, the Gulf waters have witnessed attacks on tankers, amid the escalation of regional tensions with Iran.
Last July, an oil tanker operated by an Israeli company was attacked by a suspected drone off the coast of Oman. Tehran denied any connection to the attack.
According to the online ship tracking website MarineTraffic, the Pacific Zircon tanker was last seen off the coast of Liwa in Oman on Monday morning, before it sailed from Sohar after midday the same day, heading to the port of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Separately, Reuters reported that Greece and Iran had reached an agreement to release two Greek-flagged tankers that Tehran had held in the Gulf since May, in response to the US seizure of oil from an Iranian-flagged tanker.
And according to data for tracking the movement of ships, the two tankers, which carry the Greek flag, sailed from Iranian waters.