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Israeli-owned oil tanker 'hit in drone strike' off Oman

Liberian-flagged Pacific Zircon attacked by exploding drone, regional defence official tells the AP
A man stands on a beach as tanker ships are seen in the waters of the Gulf of Oman (AFP/File photo)

An Israeli-linked oil tanker was hit by an exploding drone off the coast of Oman late on Tuesday night, the ship owner and a defence official said on Wednesday.

The attack, which happened at a time of high tensions between Israel and the United States and Iran, hit the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon, a regional defence official told the Associated Press.

Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer owns Eastern Pacific Shipping, the company that operates the tanker.

Eastern Pacific Shipping said the attack caused minor damage to the hull and none of its gas oil cargo spilled. The company said the incident occurred 150 miles off the Omani coast.

"All crew are safe and accounted for," it said.

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"Preliminary reports indicate the vessel...was hit by a projectile," Eastern Pacific Shipping added. "There is some minor damage to the vessel's hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress."

The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is aware of an incident in the area involving a commercial vessel, Commander Timothy Hawkins told Reuters.

Tankers in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula have been repeatedly struck when tensions with Iran are heightened. In 2021, a tanker managed by an Israeli firm was hit in a suspected drone strike in the Gulf of Oman.

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