Oman oil tanker: Exclusive photos of drone attack aftermath on Pacific Zircon



CNN

CNN has obtained exclusive images showing damage and debris from a self-destructing drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman on Tuesday night.

The two images, provided by a Western defense official, show what appears to be a hole in the hull of the Liberian-flagged, Singaporean-owned and Israeli-affiliated Pacific Zircon, and the wreckage of a drone next to evidence markers. The charred remains of the drone display the number 229 on the side.

CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the photo.

On Wednesday, U.S. and Israeli officials pinned the blame on Iran — identifying the drone as HESA Shahed 136, similar to the Iranian-made self-destruct drones Russia uses in Ukraine.

According to Eastern Pacific Shipping Lines, the ship’s operating company, there were no casualties in the incident. It also did not cause significant damage, according to a U.S. military official.

“We are communicating with the vessel and there are no reports of injury or contamination. All crew members are safe,” Eastern Pacific Shipping said Wednesday. “There was some minor damage to the hull, but no cargo was spilled or flooded.”

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster provided assistance to the crew of the Pacific Zircon after learning of the incident, a MoD spokesman said in a statement.

The wreckage of a drone that hit the tanker Zircon Pacific on Monday, Nov. 15, 2022 is seen in a photo obtained exclusively by CNN from a Western defense official on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

On Wednesday, U.S. National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said Iran may have been behind the drone attack, saying in a statement that while there was “no justification for the attack,” it was “an action of this type and the broader The latest in a pattern of destabilizing activity.”

“After reviewing available information, we believe Iran likely carried out this attack using drones, a lethal capability that is increasingly being used directly and through its proxies throughout the Middle East,” Sullivan said. spread to Russia for use in Ukraine,”.

He warned the action threatened international shipping, commerce and “freedom of navigation through this vital waterway”.

U.S. Central Command also said Wednesday that a “Shahed series of unidirectional attack drones” had hit the ship.

This undated photo provided by Nabeel Hashmi shows the Liberian-flagged tanker Pacific Zircon operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping at the Jebel Ali port in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2015.

General Michael “Eric” Kurira, head of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement: “This drone attack on civilian vessels in this critical strait once again demonstrates the importance of Iran’s malign activities in the region. destabilizing nature.”

An Israeli official told CNN on Wednesday that the drone attack was an “Iranian provocation in the Gulf” related to the World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Sunday.

“This was not an attack against Israel,” the official said. “It’s the same as what they usually do in the Gulf, trying to destabilize and mainly affect World Cup events.”

The official asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The weapon and target fit a pattern of past attacks linked to Iran. On July 30, 2021, an armed drone attacked a cargo ship called Mercer Street off the coast of Oman, killing two people. That boat was linked to an Israeli billionaire.

Soccer teams and supporters from 32 countries, including Iran, gathered in Qatar on the eve of the World Cup.

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