An Israeli-owned cargo ship that suffered a mysterious explosion in the Gulf of Oman came to Dubai’s port for repairs, days after the blast that revived security concerns in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran.
An Associated Press journalist on Sunday saw the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray sitting at dry dock facilities in Dubai. Although the crew was unharmed in the blast the vessel sustained two holes on its port side and two on its starboard side just above the waterline, according to American defence officials.
It remains unclear what caused the blast but the incident comes amid sharply rising tension between the US and Iran over its unravelling 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has sought to pressure President Joe Biden’s administration to grant the sanctions relief it received under the accord with world powers that former president Donald Trump abandoned.
The blast on the ship on Friday recalled a string of attacks on foreign oil tankers in 2019 the US Navy blamed on Iran. Tehran denied any role in the suspected assaults, which happened near the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil choke point.
The Helios Ray had discharged cars at various ports in the Persian Gulf before making its way out of the Middle East toward Singapore. The blast hit as the ship was sailing from the Saudi port Dammam out of the Gulf of Oman, forcing it to turn to Dubai for inspection.
Iranian authorities have not publicly commented on the ship. Israeli media has run reports saying the assessment in Israel is that Iran was behind the blast.